Hundreds gather to say last goodbye to Waco’s African American icon Lester Gibson

Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 10:31 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - There was a rejoicing for the hundreds of people who gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of Waco’s most influential figure in the African American community.

Lester Gibson, the first African American to be elected as a McLennan County commissioner died June 17. His funeral took place inside the Extraco Events Center.

“I have finished my course. I have kept the faith,” said Minister Judy Ann Hatter, reading a bible passage.

And those who showed up to speak took the chance to give praise to Gibson for his work in the community.

“He didn’t just walk the trail,” said Lee Ann Edwards, “he blazed it.”

After his election to the commissioners court, he held on to the seat for nearly 30 years, making him the longest-service commissioner in the county.

On top of that, he also edited and published two community newspapers and received recognition from organizations like the local chapter of the NAACP.

Those were just a few of his many accolades.

“You are, without a doubt our refuge,” said Reverend Lawyer Neal. “You are our refuge and strength.”

Because he was such a towering figure for the people of Waco, he was even being recognized after his death by Waco Mayor Dillon Meek.

“As mayor of the City of Waco, do hereby proclaim June 25, 2022 as Commissioner Lester Gibson Day,” said Meek while reading a special proclamation to the crowd.

And for those who benefited from all he did, the message for others is to keep up his work for the underprivileged.

“Liberty and justice for all, liberty and justice for all. See what Lester has done, look -- look around,” said Vernetta Stallings. “Don’t give up.”

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