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Durham, NC

Durham church honors civil rights pioneer Mickey Michaux

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ABC11 Eyewitness News
ABC11 Eyewitness News
 2021-02-22

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Sacrifice Sunday at St. Joseph AME Church in Durham is an important occasion for the community, as senior pastor Jay Augustine explained to ABC11.

"We are honoring one of our own, brother Mickey Michaux, lifelong member of St. Joseph AME church, who sacrificed of himself in public service for an entire career. We're so very proud of his accomplishments," he said.

Michaux is 90 years old and spent most of his life advocating for civil rights and voting rights.

"It feels good to be here. I've had my shots -- and I'm ready to come out and do what I can to move the people," he said.

His decades of work in courtrooms and the state legislature inspired generations of younger people such as current state Rep. Zack Hawkins to follow his lead.

"Not only because he mentored people like me, and hundreds of others to get into public service," Hawkins said, "but he's done so over a course of about 50 years with honor, with grace and integrity, and with a perspective that diversity matters."

The church gave Michaux a lifetime achievement award.

"We've talked this year about Kamala Harris, Raphael Warnock and Stacy Abrams, other people who have sacrificed of themselves for greater good," Augustine said. "Today, we honor one of our own, and honor that living legacy throughout all of America."

Now as the nation wrestles with the health challenge of the pandemic, Micheux urges members of the Black community to follow his example again by getting the vaccine as soon as they qualify for a shot.

"People sometimes have problems, thinking of what has happened in the past. But these vaccinations are safe," Michaux said. "I've had mine, and I encourage everyone to get theirs."

He knows that the personal sacrifice of brief pain from the injection could save lives and help the community return to some semblance of normal activity.

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