Anyone who has lived in Effingham County in their lifetime has probably heard of the late Rev. Thomas J. Kent, but not many know just how big of an impact he had in the community.
Rev. Kent, who passed in 2004, was a local hero and leader who helped to bring the Civil Rights movement to Effingham County as well as serve numerous local positions. The Rev. Kent, along with the late Homer Wallace, also brought the NAACP to Effingham County.
Anyone who knew him would tell you just how great of a man the Rev. Kent was.
“He did so much good,” Annie Kent said. “He was a leader of African Americans but not just that - he was a leader of all people.”
Rev. Kent served in the Army for three years. After being discharged from the military, he became an African Methodist Episcopal Church Pastor. He was later promoted to Presiding Elder of the Savannah District.
He was the first President of the Effingham County Branch of the NAACP where he served for 10 years.
He was also the first African American to be elected in Effingham County as he was elected to the City Council of Guyton in 1971. Rev. Kent was also a member of the Black Caucus.
While it has been quite a while since he has passed, Rev. Kent’s legacy continues today.
Throughout this month, the Effingham Herald will spotlight various stories and people to help commemorate Black History Month and educate our readers on some of the great people this area has produced.