U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., recently recognized Gwinnett Sheriff Keybo Taylor as a pioneer, highlighting his role as the first African-American to serve as the county’s top lawman in Gwinnett’s more than 202-year history.

Taylor was one of four sheriffs in the 4th Congressional District who received a Pioneer Award from Johnson — the others being DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox, Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown and Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett.

“I look forward to Sheriff Taylor joining myself along, with sheriffs Maddox, Levett and Brown, in rebuilding our communities and helping those who deserve a second chance after getting caught up in the system or falling on hard times,” Johnson said.

Along with the four sheriffs, Johnson also presented a Pioneer Award to Lillian Foston Walker, who is the first African-American to serve as a secretary for the Georgia General Assembly, having served under then-State Sen. Leroy Johnson, who was became Georgia’s first African-American state senator when he was elected in 1962.

Taylor said he was honored to be recognized alongside Maddox, Brown, Levett and Walker, but said his award does not belong to him alone.

“A lot of people put in a lot of hard work for me to get here,” Taylor said. “This is not just about Keybo Taylor and it will never be just about Keybo Taylor. It will always be about the people who put forth the effort to get me here and the folks who had the confidence to vote for me and give me this opportunity.

“I am well aware of what my mission is, I know what we need to do, and I know how we need to continue to put forth all of our efforts to serve the citizens not just Gwinnett County but across the state. We will make our mark and be trend setters.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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