Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Youth With Local Roots Hired as Gulf Coast Park Guide Ranger, Florida

C:\Users\elmetra patterson\Downloads\Jeremiah Edwards in uniform photo.jpg

Jeremiah Edwards was recently hired as the new permanent Gulf Coast Park Guide for the Division of Interpretation. Jeremiah started his new position, Sunday, August 30, 2020. He announced to his family and friends that, “Everglades National Park is my first federal job where I’ll be a Park Guide. I am thoroughly excited to work with everyone and really want to share the story of diversity within Everglades National Park. When I am not at work you can find me leading Bible studies, talking with my family, or working with arts and crafts. I am very excited to meet and work with everyone while here.” It is believed that Jeremiah is the first African American park guide ranger to become employed in the Everglades National Park. The Everglades National Park constitutes the largest subtropical wilderness left in the United States – located in Florida City, FL.

Jeremiah, of Snellville, GA, graduated from Hampton University, June 1919, with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. He previously worked with the Greening Youth Foundation at the Everglades National Park where he independently prepared and presented ranger talks, facilitated a variety of tours, and issued backcountry permits in compliance with park regulations. Jeremiah learned critical thinking and data analysis skills as a Ronald McNair Scholar. Also, he was an outstanding public speaker at Hampton and used those skills to give talks at Minute Man National Historical Park. As an intern, he used his skills as an event photographer and Hampton University’s Marching Force Announcer.

Jeremiah was elected as president of the NAACP Youth and College Chapter at Hampton University. Under his leadership, they were able to rebuild the NAACP on campus with the mindset that all lives can’t matter without black lives, and every goal that was set was achieved. The chapter sponsored tutorial programs, conducted voter registration drives and hosted a campus wide Mr. and Miss NAACP pageant. The chapter arranged workshops for college bound student, focusing on financial aid, curriculum selection and scholarship applications. They also offered consultation for at-risk students, youth seminars on the cause and effects of racial discrimination and facilitated multiracial meetings. The chapter hosted Rev. Jesse Jackson on campus and he spoke on the importance of voting and health care.

Jeremiah is the grandson of Charles and Carolyn Hampton of Louisville, MS, both of whom are very involved members of the NAACP. Charles was president of the Winston County Branch NAACP and President of the Mississippi Conference NAACP. Carolyn is the president of Women in the NAACP (WINN) of Winston County. Jeremiah was active with them as a youth in Louisville with the NAACP during summer vacations. He also attended the NAACP National Convention with them. He has been mentored to be a leader by his grandparents. His parents are Terrell Edwards and Charee Hampton. His sister is Tamera Edwards.

Like some other graduates, Jeremiah stated, “When I graduated from Hampton University, I really had no idea what I was about to do. I wanted, still want to, to be a minister and go to law school; however I was not ready to go back to school. Thankfully, my friend Whitney Bronson introduced me to the Greening Youth Foundation which was a 10 week internship at Minute Man National Historical Park. After those 10 weeks, I applied for another internship at Everglades National Park. This position was supposed to last 6 months and now almost one year later I am a permanent park guide ranger. Trust the process, do what you’re supposed to be doing at this present moment and always have faith in God. I am a living witness that He will handle everything else.”