Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, has spent most of his life as a servant to his church and community. He started serving at a young age, and the years have not dampened his enthusiasm for helping others.
In recognition of 50-plus years of church, civic and political service, Williams’ family and friends will honor him with an appreciation evening at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Shuman Recreation Center in Hinesville.
A native of Liberty County, Williams was educated in the Liberty County School System. He graduated from the old Liberty County High School and Saint Leo University and attended John Marshall Law School.
As a young man, Williams met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the early 1960s while on a retreat at Dorchester Academy. By age 13, even though Williams was not old enough to vote, he tried to drum up support for the presidential candidacy of John F. Kennedy. He recalls two historical events that he participated in: the 1963 March on Washington and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March. Both events had a profound influence on Williams’ life. In addition, Williams considers his pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2000 one of the most rewarding experiences in his life.
During the civil-rights movement, Williams was jailed 17 times because of his activism. His experiences in the movement ignited the spark that began a lifelong career of community involvement and service. He helped organize the Young Democrats of Georgia and served as a political adviser and session aide to Zell Miller and the late Sen. Glenn Bryant.
Williams serves as chairman of the deacon board of the Calvary Baptist Church of Richmond Hill, where the Rev. Sanford Anderson is the pastor. He also is president of the Laymen of the Zion Missionary Baptist Association and past president of Laymen of the New Era Baptist Convention.
He serves as chairman of the Georgia Legislative Prayer Caucus and presides over the annual Eugene C. Tillman Sr. Memorial Prayer Convocation at the state Capitol on the eve of each legislative session.
A Vietnam veteran, Williams is a steadfast advocate for the citizens of Liberty and Georgia. He first was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2002 from District 165 in Liberty County. A leader and visionary in the Georgia House of Representatives, he champions issues to get results on behalf of his constituents.
He has served and currently serves on various committees and subcommittees such as the Transportation, State Economic Development and Tourism, State Game, Fish and Parks, Chairman of Subcommittee on Hunting.
Because of his tireless service, he has been recognized statewide as well as nationally. Some of his honors include the 2008 Trumpet Award, Liberty County NAACP Ralph Quarterman Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Award - National Convention in Chicago. He has received recognition from the nationally acclaimed magazine Black Enterprise, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Atlanta Tribune. In 2006, he was bestowed an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Trinity Temple College of Religion in Hinesville.
Despite his busy schedule, Williams also finds time to serve on the Liberty County Development Authority Board, Dorchester Improvement Association, Georgia Historical Society, Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, NAACP, Liberty County Democratic Committee, Board of Directors for the Liberty County United Way, Citizens Advisory Committee for the Georgia Power Company, and Board of Directors, Coastal Area Support Team.
Because of his busy life, Williams didn’t learn to swim until he was nearly 50 years old.
“I never had the time learn to swim. I never went to swimming pools. I missed having a normal, regular childhood because I spent my summers demonstrating, marching, going to jail — whatever it took to change the look of this county. I wanted to make a difference,” Williams said. “I could not see being a part of this society and not helping to rewrite history.”
Williams has been married to Olivia Richardson Williams for 34 years and they are the parents of five children.
For additional information about the appreciation service, call 977-5602.