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'Auspicious, momentous occasion': Milledgeville street renamed for city's first Black mayor

Floyd L Griffin Jr. was mayor from 2002 to 2006, and implemented the Black Heritage Plaza downtown.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — The city of Milledgeville has officially renamed a street and the Black Heritage Plaza for the city's first Black mayor.

Floyd L. Griffin Jr. was also the first Black state senator to represent a majority white rural district. He served as mayor from 2002-2006.

When he was growing up in Milledgeville, his parent owned a dry cleaning business on the street, and a funeral home business in the district in 1966.

"It has a lot of meaning to me and to my family," Griffin said.

As Black History Month comes to a close, current Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan says it's important to recognize those who have made an impact in the local community.

"One month isn't enough to tell the history that we have in our own community," she said. 

Parham-Copelan spoke at the event, and says the renaming is cause for celebration.

"This is such a celebratory time for us here in Milledgeville. We've never had a street named after an African American. So, this is an auspicious, momentous occasion for us, and we're really excited," she said.

Griffin says he experienced many emotions when Milledgeville's NAACP chapter asked for his permission to name the street after him and rededicate the Black Heritage Plaza in his name.

"You know, I'm very pleased... somewhat surprised... and very humbled... because, you know, it's kind of mixed emotions to some degree," he said.

"Mr. Griffin has done so much for this community, that many wouldn't even know that he does. Just having that personal relationship with him, I do know the things he has done for this community," Parham-Copelan said.

When Griffin was mayor of Milledgeville he says he "instituted" the Black Heritage Plaza.

"So, now for it to be named for me, it's, you know, it's just very exciting," Griffin said.

He says that the district could've been named for someone else, and that, "it should've been done a long time ago."

Griffin says more streets in Milledgeville should be named after local individuals, and that it's a positive thing for the younger generation to see.

"It's something the community can look up to for years and years to come," he said.

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