Thankful Baptist Church Rev. Nathaniel T. Walker, Sr. said what he meant and meant what he said.
Those were the words the Rev. Johnny Hatney used to describe the pastor and civil rights leader during a monument dedication for Walker by the Augusta African American Historical Society on Saturday.
Walker’s monument, located on the corner of 12th Street and Laney Walker Boulevard, is the 22nd monument erected by the organization. The historical society plans 50 monuments to be built to remind future generations to do great things for others.
“We are here because of the sacrifices of those who went before us,” the Rev. Christopher Waters, current pastor of Thankful Baptist Church, said.
The “history walk” along Laney Walker Boulevard includes monuments dedicated to C.T. Walker, Thelma “Butterfly” McQueen and the Rev. Jesse Peters Golphin.
“These Augustans have made outstanding contributions locally, regionally, nationally and internationally,” Lillie Johnson said. “May their stories inspire us all and the generations ahead.”
Walker began serving Thankful Baptist in 1945 and served for 46 years. He passed away in 2001.
“He was not a preacher, he was a minister,” James Carter III said.
In addition to running a prison ministry and visiting people in the hospital whether they were his church members or not, Walker fought for equal rights for African-Americans in the school system.
While serving on the Richmond County Board of Education for 12 years, Walker fought to have equal pay for African-American teachers.
As a pastor, Walker ranged from fire and brimstone sermons to telling congregants not to remove their crying children from church because they were the future of the church, said Joe Johnson. Walker also tried to prevent gossip from spreading among his congregation.
“He said to put a lid on it like a trash can or it’ll spread like stink,” Johnson said.
According to Waters, Walker’s wife told him that the pastor never planned on staying in Augusta, but the people were so kind he decided to stay.