U.S. Rep. Bishop visits Bainbridge

Published 7:50 pm Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bishop spoke Sunday at the Black History Month Observance, which also included several hymns of praise.|Justin Schuver

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. might be known as a politician, but in his visit to Bainbridge on Sunday, he sounded more like a preacher.
Bishop was the keynote speaker at the 24th Annual Black History Observance, held at the First African Baptist Church on Webster Street. Bishop, a Democrat from Albany, Ga., who is serving his 10th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, talked about a variety of historical figures and what they all had in common.
He began by speaking about the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis, noting that he was sold into slavery by his brothers and spent time in an Egyptian prison before eventually becoming Egypt’s prime minister. He also talked about former President Abraham Lincoln, who came from humble beginnings and failed in several political elections before eventually earning the presidency. Former South African President Nelson Mandela, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and current President Barack Obama were other historical figures that Bishop noted came from inauspicious beginnings.
“I think it’s appropriate that we hold this ceremony in the House of God,” Bishop said. “Because no matter the hard times these people faced, they always remembered one important fact: God is always in control.”
Bishop said that the nation is also facing gloomy times, with a depressed economy and partisan rancor threatening to tear the country apart.
“No matter how ugly that it looks, you need to remember that God is in control,” he said. “The economy is getting better; jobs are being created.”
Although Bishop did not directly endorse any political figure, he did touch on the upcoming November elections. Bishop, a self-professed “blue dog” Democrat, will face opposition from a Republican candidate later this year.
“I’m telling you to vote for your best interests, and for the interests of your country,” he said.
Prior to Bishop’s speech, the ceremony featured remarks from several notable citizens, including County Commission Chairman Dr. C.T. Stafford, Bainbridge City Councilman Rev. Joe Sweet and Decatur County school board member Winston Rollins.
The Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church Choir provided entertainment, along with a group of interpretive dancers from Florida A&M University.
Earlier in the ceremony, 43 black women from the community were publicly recognized for “excelling in service and performance” and making a difference in Bainbridge and Decatur County. The women included preachers, teachers, businesswomen, administrators and many more.
Those who were recognized were: Rev. Larsie Mae Allison, Alesia Brinson, Dr. Lillie Brown, Estella Bryant, Rev. Irene Cason, Louise Close, Virginia Close, Arlene Cook, Rev. Beverly Griffin, Apostle Erica Jackson, Rev. Marie Jones, Clarissa Kendrick, Dr. Linda Lumpkin, Charlie Mae Phillips, Rev. Jacquelyn Porter, Calvine Rollins, Helen Sanders, Liz Tomlin, Doris Venisee-Cosby, Willona Wade, Betty Weston, Rev. Belinda Wright-Corley, Rev. Sandra D. Yates, Letitia Austin, Deborah Brown, Shirley Clark, Barbara Eutsay, Dr. Myra Evans, Dr. Delores Fleming, Lorene Freeman, Wendy Gee, Jeanette Grimsley, Dr. Florence Harrell, Charlotte Howard, Vonda Hubbard, Martha King, Hester Mills, Peggy Moore, Tandria Phillips, Dr. Christine Pugh, Bertha Thompson and Patricia Williams.