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General Assembly honors Edwards

RALEIGH – The distinguished life and service of a Northampton County pastor is being recognized by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Thanks to a resolution presented jointly by Representatives Michael Wray (D-Northampton) and Howard Hunter Jr. (D-Hertford), the North Carolina House of Representatives voted unanimously to honor the life of the Rev. Sherley W. Edwards of Potecasi.

Rev. Edwards, who died July 21, 2004 at the age of 91, was honored as a civil rights advocate and ardent supporter of education. He was pastor and member of Second Baptist Church in Potecasi until his death.

&uot;Reverend Edwards had a tremendous impact on Northampton County and our state and its people, and he will never be replaced,&uot; Rep. Wray said.

Rep. Hunter said Wray did an outstanding job on the floor of the House recounting the accomplishments of Rev. Edwards.

Rep. Hunter said, &uot;Rev. Edwards meant a lot to the African-American community in all the counties I represent or represented. He was full of wisdom and energy and loved working with people. He was a great man.&uot;

Rep. Hunter said he referred to Rev. Edwards as &uot;Papa Sherley&uot; because of his admiration for the man and his accomplishments.

Among the long list of accomplishments in Edwards’ life was attending Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama, graduating from Shaw University in 1959, serving as pastor of Second Baptist and of New Haven Baptist Church in Murfreesboro for 40 years.

He was also pastor of churches including Sandy Branch Church in Roxobel, Jordan Grove Baptist Church in Winton and Jordan Hill Baptist Church in Macon.

Rev. Edwards was an advocate for civil rights for African-Americans who worked tirelessly with several others, including former House of Representatives member C.M. Creecy, to end the split school year for African-Americans in Northampton County and later served as president of the Northampton County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

In 1983, Edwards founded the Northampton County Ministers Council for Education to serve as a community resource for the county’s public schools by helping to identify potential dropouts, offering support to students who were failing and promotion student achievement.

During his lifetime, Edwards received various awards for his good works and dedication. They included the Northampton County NAACP Award (1987), the Migrant Mission Ministry Award (1995), the Richard Allen Ebony Excellence Award (1997), the Fayetteville State University Award of Excellence (1998) and the Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award (2004).

House Joint Resolution 578 is the bill that honors Edwards and it can be accessed online by going to www.ncga.state.nc.us and searching for that legislation.