Colleton NAACP honors attorney George Cone | News | The Press and Standard

by | June 30, 2017 5:00 pm

Last Updated: June 28, 2017 at 11:58 am

By Anna Stevens Bright

abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com

On this past Saturday evening, the Colleton County Branch of the NAACP celebrated its 32nd Annual Freedom Fund Banquet at Colleton County Middle School. Dr. Queenie L. Crawford, mistress of ceremonies and executive director of Genes for Glory, opened the event with a musical rendition of the statement, “Change may take a long time, but it does happen.” Then she followed by sharing a real life personal experience as a young girl of how she and her siblings taught their mother the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, so that she could recite it perfectly and receive her voter’s registration card, as that was required of African-Americans during that time. She went on to tell the crowd how the NAACP helped so many like her mother get that all-important voter registration card.

The Rev. Elijah Broughton, pastor of Antioch and Pine Grove Baptist Churches, gave the invocation, after which the audience sang “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” led by Minister Anna Stevens Bright. Audrey Henderson, treasurer of the local branch, welcomed the attendees. Greetings were extended by Mayor William T. Young, Sheriff Andy Strickland, Chief of Police Wade Marvin and County Councilman Phillip Taylor.

This year the Colleton County Branch chose to give special honor and recognition to local attorney George W. Cone for his decades of outstanding leadership and service to the residents of Colleton County. The S.C. Senate resolution honoring Attorney Cone was introduced by Senator Margie Bright Matthews, who represents District 45.

The resolution was presented to Cone by Lynette B. Fryar, branch president, and Min. Anna Stevens Bright, who read the resolution. After accepting this recognition and expressing his gratitude for the honor, Cone shared important information from some famous civil rights cases. Further, he spoke about instances in which African-American suspects have been treated differently by some law enforcement officers. He concluded everyone needs to work together to ensure that all citizens are treated fairly and equally under the law.

After the meal served by Smalls Catering with dinner music by Al Miller, Evangelist Dianne Johnson rendered a vocal solo. The keynote speaker was introduced by Rubye Braye Aiken, a member of the banquet committee.

The Honorable Justin T. Bamberg, a member of the House of Representatives serving District 90, was the keynote speaker. Bamberg, affectionately known as “Bamberg from Bamberg,” is a native of Bamberg. He attended Bamberg County public schools K-12 and is a 2005 graduate of Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School. In 2009, he graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in criminal justice. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

At the age of 24, Rep. Bamberg received his juris doctor from the USC School of Law, finishing the three-year program in two-and-a-half years and passing the South Carolina Bar exam on his first attempt. He is currently licensed to practice law in S.C. state court and the United States District Court for the District of S.C.

He is a trial lawyer with Bamberg Legal, LLC in Bamberg, which focuses on personal injury and wrongful death litigation. He has received many accolades for his trial work fighting for injured and deceased persons, including: National Trial Lawyers’ “Top 40 Under 40” and “Top 100,” National Black Lawyers’ “Top 40 Under 40,” and National Trial Lawyers-Mass Tort Trial Lawyers Association’s “Top 25.” Since 2014 Rep. Bamberg has helped clients earn over $33.5 million in verdicts, settlements, and judgments. He has also represented individuals and families in some of the nation’s most high-profile cases in recent history.

His address focused on the banquet’s theme, “Steadfast and Immovable.” Throughout Rep. Bamberg’s motivational address, he reflected on the story of Inky Johnson and how this young man, who rose from poverty, living in a house with 14 people, is such an inspiration to him.

Just who is Inky Johnson? “September 9, 2006. It started as a normal college football game in Neyland Stadium (home of the Tennnessee Vols). If anything, the event was an afterthought, dropped into the schedule at the last minute. For Inky Johnson, though, the game changed everything. A routine tackle turned into a life-threatening injury, and nothing has been normal for Inky ever since. Not with a paralyzed right arm. Not with daily pain. Not with constant physical challenges.

“His dream had always been to play professional sports. You might think his injury would have destroyed his motivation and crushed his spirit. But that’s only because you don’t know Inky.

“Who is Inquoris “Inky” Johnson? He could be described as the survivor of an underprivileged past. He could be described as a refugee of poverty and violence. He could be described as a success story stained by tragedy. But if you look deeper, you’ll discover something else…”

Bamberg’s overall point to everyone was don’t give up, even though the odds may be against you. One further point that he made which resonated with everyone is “Knowledge is the new money; get yourself some!”

Robert Mixon, the banquet chairman, expressed thanks to all for their support. The Colleton County Branch would like to express special thanks to the Gold Table Sponsors: Congressman James E. Clyburn (Friends of Jim Clyburn-FOJC), City of Walterboro, Koger’s Mortuary LLC, Lively Stone Temple Apostolic Ministries Inc., Bank of Walterboro, and IGA General Food Store Inc.; Silver Table Sponsors: Antioch Baptist Church, Kesia L. Brown Insurance Agency, Hetrick, Harvin and Bonds, Rock of Ages C.M.E. Church, Neland Travel Agency, Top Shelf Wine and Spirits, and Colleton Dental Associates. The Colleton County Branch further extends thanks to all of the local businesses and other donors who supported this annual affair to further the cause of freedom, justice, and equality.

Robert Mixon, Lynette Fryar, Ruby Aiken, Audrey Henderson, Doris Calloway, Deloris Jenkins, Geraldine Stallings, Virley Bowman, Anna Smith, Thomasina Williams, Antoinette Kinsey and Rev. Gregory Kinsey served as members of the banquet committee.

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