I would like to thank the following groups for assisting in renaming Harrison Street for the late Rev. Charles Spencer Hamilton: the residents who signed the petition; George Patty and the Planning Commission, who made the recommendation; and the Augusta commissioners who voted unanimously for approval.
I also want to express appreciation to the committee that did the legwork -- namely: Dr. Ronald Brown, Mrs. Liz Wilhite, Dr. Charles Lamback and Dr. Alfred Reed.
Tabernacle Baptist Church will have a program during its 125th anniversary in August to unveil the street's new name, C.S. Hamilton Way.
Now, I challenge Tabernacle to purchase and preserve the Rev. Charles Thomas Walker's home on Laney-Walker Boulevard. It is dilapidated, and is on Historic Augusta's list of endangered buildings. But the home can be salvaged. I am sure it would qualify for some types of grants.
The Rev. Walker founded Tabernacle in 1885, and he would go on to become a world-renowned preacher. He would be called the "Black Spurgeon," as his preaching was compared to the great English preacher Charles Spurgeon.
In 1899, the Rev. Walker accepted a call to the pastorate of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church of New York City. Many Augustans, black and white, protested his leaving. In 1901 he came back to Tabernacle, and the news of his return was heralded everywhere in Augusta.
John D. Rockefeller, a friend of the Rev. Walker, was a regular visitor to Tabernacle when he came to Augusta. President Taft also was a visitor. In 1898, President McKinley appointed the Rev. Walker chaplain of the 9th Immunes, United States Volunteers, and he served with that regiment in Cuba.
The Rev. Charles Thomas Walker was one of the world's greatest biblical scholars and orators in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Given the Rev. Walker's historical significance, his home could be a tourist attraction and would also enhance the new development under way in that area.
Tracy E. Williams Jr.