Georgia’s first Black senator returns to Birmingham

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 10:27 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Miles College choir made it feel like College Sunday at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, but for Senator Raphael Warnock, it was also kind of a homecoming.

While he was still in college, he served as an intern at Sixth Avenue and was ordained alongside current pastor John Cantelow by then pastor and civil rights leader John T. Porter.

Between his sermon and signing copies of his memoir and his recently published children’s book, the latter of which he says offers a way through the current debate over what history is taught in schools.

“My dad,” said Sen. Warnock, “was a World War II era veteran who once had to give up his seat on a bus while wearing his uniform to a white teenager. My dad had to give up his seat. But guess what? Today, I sit in a United States Senate seat, a kid who grew up in public housing. Both of those parts of the American story are true, and we have to give voice to that, be honest about it, and that’s how we move everybody forward.”

Warnock also talked about his political priorities and explained one of the things from his time in Birmingham that still drives him.

“We need to be making more things here in America and I won’t rest until every eligible American has access to the right to vote. And what inspires all of this is people like John Porter who was my pastor and mentor here. I served under him, he served under Dr. King, and now it’s time to pass it on,” said Warnock.

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