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Savannah Leaders Show Support for Tyrone Brooks

Indicted State Rep. Honored at Chatham County Rally

By Bunnie Jackson-Ransom | 9/6/2013, 12:15 p.m.

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Historic Bolton Street Baptist Church in Savannah, GA was full of rousing supporters who recently turned out to show their support and appreciate for the years of dedicated services given to the Savannah-Chatham County community by Georgia State Representative Tyrone Brooks. As the chairperson of the rally and one of the organizers of this event, Reverend Jesse Blackshear, former state representative, said, “I have seen few people pass through our community – some from Savannah and others from other parts of our state – who have done as much as Tyrone Brooks. I just thought it was time we stood up and told him, and the people of this state, how much we appreciate him and how much we depend on him to keep on keeping on.”

Roy L. Jackson, co-organizer and co-chair of the event and president of the Georgia Association of Black State Universities, along with State Senator Diana Harvey Johnson, a former Georgia State Senator – both long-time leaders from this community – joined in to bring out other citizens of like minds who have, over the years, expressed support for the work of Representative Brooks.

Brooks is a native son of Georgia, born in Washington (Wilkes County). He spent his formative years in Warrenton, GA and remains a member of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. Brooks was educated at Boggs Academy in Keysville; Lassalle Institute in Philadelphia, PA; Howard University in DC; Atlanta University; and finally at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. The John Marshall School of Law in Atlanta presented Brooks with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence.

Tyrone Brooks was elected to the Georgia General Assembly, House of Representative District #55 (Douglas and Fulton County) in 1980. Known as the man who led the charge to change the Georgia Confederate Flag through his house bill #16, Brooks has been fighting for causes all of his life. When he was 15, he volunteered to work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and joined the SCLC staff in 1967 working on local and national issues side-by-side with Hosea Williams, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, Dr. Joseph Lowery, and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Representative Brooks is the president of Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials, better known as GABEO; and he is an active member of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus. After Brooks came under fire with federal charges filed against him, many of his supporters came forward to defend his character. Among those was Roy L. Jackson, who stated in a recent article published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Brooks’ attitude is absolutely remarkable. You will not see the staging of any events on his behalf and you will not hear of raising funds for him because that’s not what he’s about. Hundreds of delegates will gather (here) because we believe in his work. Whatever he has done over the years has been to the benefit of the state and not for him. . . ”

Says Diana Harvey Johnson, former Georgia State Senator, “Over the years, Tyrone has been in Savannah to many times that we just had to let him know that he was in our thoughts and prayers. I only wish that his real buddy, Reverend Bennie R. Mitchell, Jr. was still alive to offer encouragement to him at this time.”

The gathering of well-wishers at Bolton Street Church included one new-comer in the civil rights movement, Reverend Thomas L. Hart, whose words stirred the audience. Reverend Hart said, “Representative Tyrone Brooks has navigated the dirt roads, highways and byways of Georgia and the United States and internationally, through his own financial and economic constraints. . . . We are here to empower you and encourage you.” Closing with the words of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, Rev. Hart said, “No lie can live forever.”