By Bob Paslay
Thirteen District Congressman David Scott told members of the Clayton County NAACP that those black officials elected this year are standing on the backs of those who struggled before.
Keynoting the 15th annual Freedom Fund Banquet, Scott said, "We stand on some blood, we stand on some sweat, we stand on some tears" of those who sacrificed in the past.
Sounding a note of conciliation, Scott said, We've got to reach across the racial divide and join hands" with the white citizens in Clayton County.
"Race relations is very critical to our success in Clayton County. In my two years in Congress no one can say I'm the black folks' congressman or I'm the white folks' congressman. I'm the congressman for everyone."
Rather than a conflict between blacks and whites in which whites are displaced, he said, "Expand the table and get me a chair at the table."
Scott reminded the several hundred attending the banquet Saturday at Christian Fellowship Baptist Church about the Brooklyn Dodgers' decision to break the color barrier and in 1947 play Jackie Robinson. As Robinson took the field, people in Ebbets Field booed and threw things until PeeWee Reese, a white respected player, walked over and put his arm around Robinson.
Scott warned the newly elected and nominated black officials in Clayton County, many of whom attended the banquet: "Don't blow it. Stop bickering, arguing and fussing and understand there are black children our there depending on us."
One of those youths is Robert Clinton Lemons, a member of the Clayton County Youth Council, who read a poem about students and about succeeding.
Dr. Barbara Pulliam, superintendent of Clayton County Schools who emceed the event, said she has succeeded because those before her provided shoulders for her to stand on.
"Be the shoulders for our children because they are our future."
Judge Deborah Bennefield told those attending the banquet that it is the job of judges to reach out to the students and teach them the consequences of wrong actions. By the time they know you can get 10 years in prison for a certain act, it is too late.
"More and more offenders who come before us are younger and younger," she said. She pledged to continue working to reverse this trend.
Singled out for special recognition were Dr. Emmanuel L. McCall, pastor of the Christian Fellowship Baptist Church, civic leader Willie Glen Hill and The News Daily Newspaper for its coverage of issues and continuing support.
Besides Matthews, the other officers of the branch are David Scott, 1st vice president; S.Y. Bowland, 2nd vice president, Ruth F. Ash, secretary and donna Lemons, treasurer.