Join churches for celebration of man

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

When your children ask in time to come, “What do those stones mean to you?” Then you shall answer them … and these stones shall be a memorial unto the children of Israel forever. — Excerpts from Joshua 4:1-7

The Baldwin family, former church members and friends of the late Rev. Shead Baldwin will gather together on Saturday for a dedication of the historic markers that will be placed at the Jerusalem No. 2 Baptist Church in Kingston with an outdoor ceremony to unveil the historic marker in memory of Rev. Baldwin.

We will leave that site and move on the Mount Plain Baptist Church on 1251 Liberty Road for an indoor dedication program at 2 p.m. It will be followed by an outdoor unveiling of the marker that will placed on that campus.

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The Rev. Jerry Baldwin, son of the Rev. Shead Baldwin, will deliver the dedication message.

The Rev. Shead Baldwin was very active in the Civil Rights movement. He served back-to-back terms as president of the Natchez Branch of the NAACP during the 1960s.

He was a fearless leader during his administration and a gracious supporter to other presidents and community leaders during their time in office.

Because of his courageous stand, a group of perpetrators tried to break his will by burning down the above named churches that he pastored. He also pastored Windy Hill No. 1 Baptist Church in Cranfield, Shiloh Baptist Church in Natchez and Linwood Baptist Church in Churchill.

His family and his church families endured many, many struggles and pain during these years.

The churches were eventually rebuilt because of the efforts of the membership and a caring community.

After the burning of the churches, several of his cars were destroyed while he was parked at his workplace — Armstrong Tire & Rubber Company — because of the sugar that was placed in the gas tank.

His children and his wife faced constant verbal abuse and even the death of a son, Shead Baldwin Jr., during his final administration.

Yet, he still kept his focus on the cause that was set before him, “A better life for all of the black citizens of our county, state and nation.” On Jan. 20, the Adams County Board of Supervisors voted to dedicate these sites in his honor and issued written resolutions supporting the cause.

The public is invited to attend these activities. For more information, you may contact me, Betty Cade, at 601-445-8194 or Roosevelt “Johnny” Baldwin.

Betty Cade is the daughter of the Rev. Shead Baldwin.