The Liberty County NAACP honored members of its old guard and rising stars at the organization’s annual Freedom Fund Banquet Friday at the Liberty County Community Center in Midway.
On a night dedicated to Riceboro civil rights activist Henry Relaford, who died in June, award winners included former two-term Walthourville Mayor Henry Fraiser, winner of the Ralph W. Quarterman award; Button Gwinnett Principal Delores Crawford won the E.B. Cooper Educational Award; Liberty County Tax Commissioner Virgil Jones won the W.C. Shipman Trailblazer Award; and Bradwell Institute senior class president Nathan Wallace won the NAACP Youth Award.
Other award winners included
Clara Pippen, Isaiah Quarterman and Wanda Washington.
Dr. Valya Lee was the guest speaker at the banquet, which drew a number of local and state officials, including state Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, Jones, former Hinesville city councilman and mayoral candidate Charles Frasier, Liberty County BoE Chairwoman Lily Baker and Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette. Robert Brooks, a Republican running for Liberty County Sheriff, also attended.
The event, which lasted for almost three hours, included a half-hour speech by Lee and a pledge from Liberty NAACP President Graylan Quarterman to keep watch on government officials.
"You who are elected, much is given, much is expected, and I see you," Quarterman said, using a phrase first spoken during the banquet by Lee, who said she often used that phrase when letting her children know she knew what they were doing.
Quarterman also said there’s still too little minority participation in the local economy.
"I see our economic status. We’re all right politically," Quarterman said. "We’re all right educationally. We’re all right socially. But economically, we have not overcome."
And, as did others, he urged those in the audience to make their voices heard through the ballot box.