MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A local pastor is hoping to make history, and change the direction of his community and the future of the Bluff City as well. It's a tall task, but one Rev. Keith Norman is willing to take on.
The pastor of First Baptist Church Broad in Binghampton was recently named the President of the Memphis branch of the NAACP. That's just one of a number responsibilities and honors that have come his way.
For Rev. Norman, it all begins from the pulpit of First Baptist.
"I'm able to serve because God has prepared me to serve.
Norman says he's dedicated to this community, and dedicated to creating change.
"We are a part of what we call the Binghampton Revitalization and Renewal. We see ourselves as the anchor to that renewal and revitalization."
Norman is also making an impact in other areas of Memphis as well. Recently named President of the Memphis branch of the NAACP, he's working to move the organization forward, as well as ensuring that their work remains relevant.
"The NAACP has a bright future in terms of young people. We're going to be strongly recruiting right here in the Memphis area young people who are ready to become the freedom fighters of the future."
He's also the only civilian assigned to the mayor's task force aimed at addressing crime and issues within the Memphis Police Department.
"As a community leader I'm able to sit down with the professionals and talk to them about how certain things translate when they hit the street. If you don't have someone from the outside who's not telling you how it's interpreted from the streets, you don't really have a good understanding."
For years, Rev. Norman has worked to make an impact in the lives of folks here in the Bluff City. Most recently he spearheaded a major fundraising campaign for the daughters of fallen MPD Officer Martoiya Lang.
It was only a few years ago he helped start a tuition fund for Christopher Dean, the young Booker T. Washington High School student whose speech moved President Obama.
From his charity work to speaking engagements across the world, Norman realizes it all comes with new found influence - power he doesn't take lightly. His mission, he says, is dictated by a higher power.
"Power needs to be used very wisely; I tend to look at it as God given. God does not elevate us to put us into place to be silent on the issues that are important, we are called to speak truth to power."
Rev. Norman also points to his family as an inspiration behind his work. He's been married to his wife for 17 years and the pair has raised 4 children. He hopes his work inspires them to extend themselves to this community as well.
Rev. Norman's work has also gotten the attention of the White House. He was honored by the President as one of twelve leaders recognized for their work to prevent youth violence in their communities.