Lee family continues legacy for equality
A Warner Robins family says they’ve spent generations pushing for equality and civil rights in the International City.
In 2018, one of their own made history again.
The day after Martin Luther King Day, Warner Robins Council will meet for the second time of 2018.
Daron Lee will be at that meeting just a few weeks after making history, following in his grandma’s footsteps.
“It’s about one of the happiest moments of my life,” his grandmother, Ada Lee, told WMAZ.
For the 93-year-old, seeing her grandson, Daron, elected in December as the first African American to serve a citywide council seat made a lifetime of civil rights work worth it.
He calls the sacrifice his grandma and others made humbling.
“I tell you it’s something I don’t take for granted, but I do want to use it as an avenue of serving the people and bringing unity,” Lee said on a couch next to his grandmother.
Lee was officially sworn-in to the Post-1 seat on January 2nd.
But if you take a drive down Watson Boulevard, it looks different than it did to Ada in the 1950s and 60s.
She and other civil rights activists had to fight for integrated hotels, restaurants, and schools.
“My youngest daughter was the one who integrated the CB Watson school, and I tell you, it was a time, but Warner Robins always accepted integration very grateful,” Ada told WMAZ in her Warner Robins home.
She says she was the first African American ever to work at Warner Robins City Hall.
Now her grandson sits on council.
But it wasn’t easy for Ada, like when literacy tests for African American voters put up roadblocks for her and fellow registration volunteers.
“When they got there and the lady was so mean, they forgot everything I had taught them. They didn’t pass the test, so I left there with tears in my eyes,” Lee recalls.
But her grandson’s campaign brought the happy tears instead.
“When he first went down to qualify for councilman, I went down with tears in my eyes. I said, ‘I wish my father had lived to see this happen,’” she said smiling.
Lee’s father pushed for Civil Rights as well, even at the age of 86, saying he wanted a brighter future for his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
It appears that it worked.
Daron’s brother, Gary Lee, also serves as Redevelopment Agency Executive Director in Warner Robins.
Ada says she’s grateful to the Lord she lived to see them both work for the city in such high positions. Daron says he’s proud that his grandmother is still around to see all they’ve achieved together.
Both Ada and Daron acknowledge that there’s a lot of work left to do to bring full equality to American society, but they’ll keep doing their part right here in Warner Robins.
© 2018 WMAZ-TV