Supporters of embattled Tyrone Brooks rally in Savannah
9/20/2013, 6 a.m.
Coastal Georgia activists and other supporters of embattled state Rep. Tyrone Brooks Sr. of Atlanta turned out in a show of appreciation at Historic Bolton Street Baptist Church in Savannah in August.
The Rev. Jesse Blackshear, a former state representative and chair of the rally, praised Brooks for his service to the Savannah-Chatham County community.
“I have seen few people pass through our community – some from Savannah and others from other parts of our state – who have done as much as Tyrone Brooks,” Blackshear said in an Aug. 28 statement. “I just thought it was time we stood up and told him, and the people of this state, how much we appreciate him and how much we depend on him to keep on keeping on.”
Roy L. Jackson, president of the Georgia Association of Black State Universities, helped organize the event along with former state Sen. Diana Harvey Johnson.
Brooks, a civil rights stalwart and 33-year lawmaker who represents Georgia House District 55, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 30 counts, including mail, wire and tax fraud charges, on May 16.
In the wake of the federal charges, supporters have been defending his character.
Jackson said supporters believe in Brooks’ work.
“Whatever he has done over the years has been to the benefit of the state and not for him,” he said.
Brooks, a native Georgian, was elected to the General Assembly in 1980. He led the charge to change the Georgia Confederate flag through his House Bill 16 and has been focusing attention on the unsolved Moore’s Ford Bridge lynchings in Monroe, Ga., in which two couples were murdered. No one has been charged.
Brooks, president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials and an active member of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, says he was targeted by the federal investigators because he is getting close to the lynching perpetrators.