By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
The Morgan County branch of the NAACP held their 43rd Annual Freedom Banquet at the Morgan County High School cafeteria on Saturday, Oct. 26. Elder Wayne Lumpkin gave the keynote speech on the theme of the banquet, “We shall not be moved.” Georgia State Conference President of the NAACP, Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson also spoke briefly at the banquet.
Deacon William M. Wyatt served as master of ceremonies for the Freedom Banquet and Glenn Tolbert, Jr., member of the Morgan County Youth Council and subscribing Jr. life member of the NAACP, welcomed the audience members.
City of Madison Mayor Bruce Gilbert, thanked the Morgan County branch of the NAACP for inviting him to the event, saying, “I’ve always enjoyed the support of the NAACP.”
Donald Harris, vice-chair of the Morgan County Board of Commissioners, Dr. Ralph Bennett, superintendent of the Morgan County Board of Education, and Dr. Jim Malanowski, principal of Morgan County High School also gave brief statements to open the banquet.
Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson, Georgia State Conference President of the NAACP, gave a brief address as well.
“The NAACP is fighting old battles we thought we had won,” said Johnson, pointing to issues relating to public education and safe neighborhoods, as well as economic and law enforcement issues.
“We have a charge to keep to serve the present age,” said Johnson. “We know that the best days for America… must be in the future.”
Deacon Kendrick Simmons, third vice president of the Morgan County Branch of the NAACP, introduced the keynote speaker, Elder Wayne Lumpkin, by giving a brief history of Lumpkin’s life.
Lumpkin was born in Greensboro and graduated from Greene County High School before serving for 20 years in the United States Navy. While on active duty, Lumpkin was licensed to preach in 1995 and was ordained as an elder in 1997. He currently serves as First Administrator at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Norfolk, Va. and has completed courses in biblical studies, church administration, hermeneutics, and Christian counseling.
During his address, Lumpkin discussed the creation of the NAACP in 1909, saying “they realized the road that they were going to travel would be hard.”
“They knew there would be some opposition.”
Lumpkin the related the origin of the NAACP to the story of Nehemiah from the Bible, which describes Nehemiah’s gaining permission from his king to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Like Nehemiah, who took it upon himself to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to protect his people, Lumpkin told audience members that, “you and I have picked up the mantle,” referring to the responsibility to further the ideals of the NAACP.
Lumpkin cited five attributes that are necessary for the success of the NAACP’s goals: being prayerful, alert, prepared, united, and determined.
“When you are determined, God will see you through,” said Lumpkin about the last attribute.
“Some things are worth fighting for,” said Lumpkin. “It’s time to take a stand. We can not come off these walls. We shall not be moved!”
The banquet concluded with the handing out of awards and presentations by Laura Butler, president of the Morgan County branch of the NAACP, and a benediction by Pastor Aaron Carter of Bethlehem Baptist Church.