COLUMBIA, TN – An American Baptist College seminary student has been unanimously elected president of the NAACP Maury County Branch and he’s to be inaugurated Dec. 10.
The Rev. T.D. Byrdsong, 25, executive pastor of Grace United Church, will be the youngest president of the branch. Byrdsong succeeds Paco Harvard who was president during four terms, three consecutively and in 2014-’16.
Byrdsong thanked: God “for this humbling experience;” Harvard for his “help at times when sought;” and community leaders “to whom I look forward to working with.”
Harvard said “Rev. Byrdsong has a daunting challenge. The baptism by fire will truly show that he should be truly prepared. The community needs to surround him with their time, talents and resources along with a lot of prayer.”
Byrdsong will be sworn in on the second Saturday of December at 11 a.m. in the First Baptist Church, 117 East 8th St. “For all those who have been waiting for a change the time is now,” Rev. Byrdsong said. “Just like Obama ran on ‘hope,’ our word is ‘action.’”
Rev. Byrdsong has been a member of the Maury County Branch NAACP since he was the youth leader at age 12. He’s the religious affairs chairperson and assists with the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Walk and Spiritual Celebration led by Chairperson Annie Hardison. The celebration will be at Mt. Lebanon Missionary Baptist Church, Jan. 15.
Given national racial tension, the vision of the NAACP is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights and there is no racial hatred or racial discrimination, the Maury Branch reported. “Now is a great time to join the NAACP as we now have an intelligent, enthusiastic, visionary leader willing to lead with his heart and hands,” the Rev. Kerry Dwayne James, Byrdsong’s pastor and mentor, stated.
Byrdsong said the vote count for his election was 16. His goal is to increase membership. He declined to reveal total membership. Specific issues Byrdsong wants to address include bullying and tenured teachers being terminated.
“He’s aware of social media video displaying violence in school and notes that among county school staff, there’s a “feeling of discrimination against minorities.” He’s also noted irregularities in the system’s record regarding employment and staffers’ attempts toward promotion and professional improvement.
“Also, in Maury County, we have a disconnect between the NAACP and the community,” he said. “I want to bridge that gap.”
Rev. Byrdsong lives near Columbia State Community College. He’s a single parent of one son. Byrdsong has two semesters left at ABC and is searching for financial assistance for tuition.
A branch spokesperson reports Byrd- song “loves people and enjoys working with anyone who will allow him. He … understands that without God’s help he could do nothing but fail. [He’s] dedicated his time, talents, and gifts to protect the oppressed, resist the tyrannical, and propel the future.”
“A profound public speaker, vocalist, preacher, teacher, and community leader, Byrdsong most of all prides himself on being a servant of God. He quotes St. Augustine; ‘Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.’”