Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, was honored Sunday with the inaugural political courage award from Bible Way Church of Atlas Road in Columbia. Fellow Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Hopkins, is pastor of the church, a predominately black church and one of the largest in the state.

"He is the conscience of the South Carolina Senate," Jackson said of Ford.

Jackson told the congregation that Ford was deserving of the award because of his involvement in the struggle for civil rights and his continued commitment toward issues of faith and values. Ford used the occasion to call on the church to do more to help in the education of black children.

Ford has served in the state Senate since 1993. He recently lost his bid to be the Democratic nominee for governor to state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden. Sheheen will face GOP nominee state Rep. Nikki Haley of Lexington in November.