The parents of Kendrick Johnson, the black Valdosta, Georgia teen whose body was found inside a rolled-up wrestling mat at his school gym, will be the guests for a program and march hosted by the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials (GABEO) on April 5.
As Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson commemorate the 46th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. with GABEO, they also will remember their 17-year-old son whose mysterious death a year ago is now under investigation.
This week, schoolmates of Kendrick Johnson and their parents were subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating the case. GABEO’s president, Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta, said he plans to join the Johnsons on April 4 at a march that will be held at the federal courthouse in Macon where the proceedings are under way.
“We have been working with the Johnsons for over a year now on this case,” said GABEO’s president, Rep. Tyrone Brooks, D-Atlanta. “There are a lot of unanswered questions concerning the death of their son. We want justice for them.”
Brooks said the Johnsons participated in GABEO’s annual march commemorating the anniversary assassination of King last year and it was decided that the couple would lead this year’s march.
The Johnsons reported their son missing after he failed to come home from school. The teen was found the next day—Jan. 11, 2013—by students in a gym class who saw his feet in the mat. The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office concluded Kendrick died by accident while reaching for a shoe. However, the Johnsons say there’s been a “coverup.” The couple had their son’s body exhumed last June and commissioned an independent autopsy, which attributed the teen’s death to “apparent non-accidental, blunt force trauma.”
GABEO also is demanding justice—as it has for years now—for two black couples who were lynched by a mob of white men at the Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton County in 1946. One of the women was seven months pregnant at the time. No one was ever arrested for the murders, despite several investigations. Gov. Roy Barnes reopened the case in 1999, but no arrests have been made.
GABEO has hosted a march annually to the Moore’s Ford Bridge since 2004. Every July, GABEO does a re-enactment of the lynchings at the bridge.
“We want the suspects who are still living to be brought to justice,” Brooks said. “We will not stop fighting for that.”
GABEO’s commemorative program for King’s assassination will be held on April 5, noon, at First African Baptist Church, 130 Tyler St. (corner of Main Street, Highway 11) in Monroe, GA. Following the program, where the Johnsons will speak, there will be a motorcade and march to the Moore’s Ford Bridge in Walton County.
For more Information, call Rep. Tyrone Brooks at 404-656-6372 and 404-372-1894.
Pictured at top: Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson stand next to a banner on their SUV showing their late son, Kendrick Johnson