The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

January 22, 2013

Walker receives Citizenship Award

The Daily Southerner
Calvin Adkins

TARBORO — For years, when you anyone talked about moving Edgecombe County in the right direction socially and politically, the Rev. Dr. Thomas L. Walker’s name came up in some form or fashion. The former Edgecombe County Commissioner had been one of the most proactive humanitarians in the county until his wife’s health failed. That’s why it was a surprise when the Edgecombe Entrepreneur Organization selected him for the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Citizenship Award Saturday night during the organization’s annual banquet.

“It is a surprise, because I haven’t been involved too much on this side of the county because of my wife,” he said. “I feel very humbled by this. I enjoyed working in Edgecombe.”

Walker was one of the first African-Americans to be elected as county commissioner, serving three terms. He also served as the field representative for U.S. Rep. Eva Clayton.  

While stepping down in the political arena, Walker founded the Edgecombe Nash Political Caucus — an organization that focuses on voter registration, and Ebenezer Baptist Church’s ATOM, a non-profit that focuses on housing, health and community outreach.

Walker’s proactive stance during the Civil Rights era earned him the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, among the most prestigious awards presented by the governor of North Carolina. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state. Other awards he has received include the Black History Heritage Peace Keeper Award and Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Service.

“If you do what you belive is right in life, even sometimes maybe things will be bucking aginst the trend, ultimately God will allow you to receive that recognition.  Not that I was looking for it. I just wanted to make the quality of life in Edgecombe County better and I hope that I did that.”

Last year’s recipient was Stephen Bernard Eason.