The Waycross branch of the NAACP banquet kick started the  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend on Jan. 13 with the 31st annual Freedom Fund banquet where new officers were installed.
The NAACP National Board of Directors member, Minister Edward O. DuBose, was the keynote speaker for the evening. He addressed the theme, “Our lives matter, our vote counts.”
DuBose also officiated the installation ceremony for the new officers and executive committee members.
Serving as Master of Ceremony, Elder Liston Singletary III, made introductions and welcomed those in attendance.
The Waycross Branch of the NAACP recognized Clano C. “C.C.” Stephens as the oldest member of the branch NAACP at 104 years old and gave a salute of tribute to Christopher Columbus “C.C.” McCray as the first African-American mayor of the city of Waycross. He was, it was declared, the initiator of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Waycross.
DuBose received an award for being the keynote speaker for the banquet.
Singletary was presented an appreciation award for being the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and Larry Lockey received an appreciation award for his outstanding service as past Waycross Branch NAACP president.
The 2017-2019 Waycross Branch NAACP officers and executive members are as follows: the Rev. Larry O’Hara (president), Larry Lockey (first vice president), Ngwebifor M. Fobi (second vice president), Minister Shawn Taylor (secretary), Gwenita Warner (treasurer), Deacon Johnny Lockey Jr. (assistant treasurer), and Shirley Swackard Burse, Dr. Martha Hall, Christopher Jordan, Linda Gail McClendon, Minister Stacy Taylor and Gary Turner (executive committee members).