Council renames Troy street in honor of local civil rights hero

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Walters Street will be renamed Johnnie Mae Warren Avenue in honor of one the first women elected to serve in Troy.

Walters Street will be renamed Johnnie Mae Warren Avenue in honor of one the first women elected to serve in Troy.

A street in Troy is about to be renamed to honor a local civil rights champion and one of the first women to hold office in the city.

The Troy City Council will officially change the name of Walters Street to Johnnie Mae Warren Avenue through a resolution at a city council meeting on June 25.

Warren went door-to-door and even car-to-car to help more than 5,000 people become registered voters while she was president of the Pike County Voters League. She worked beside the future Congressman John Lewis and Juanita Money, the first president of the local NAACP.

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“It is so fitting and appropriate for the City of Troy to name a street in her honor,” said Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.). “This great and outstanding citizen of Troy continues to make a major contribution to the wellbeing of so many people of the city. Each and every one of us can rejoice and appreciate her contribution and the service she selflessly gives to uplift our community, our society and our nation.”

Warren was one of two blacks elected to the city council in 1985 following the city government’s reorganization to secure equal representation of all city districts. The late Alphonsa Byrd, for whom North Brundidge Boulevard was named more than 10 years ago, was the other.

“Mrs. Johnnie Mae Warren served with honor and distinction in this community as a council member and a city leader,” said Troy Mayor Jason A. Reeves. “She is one of the most remarkable people this city has produced and has lived a life of incredible historical significance and impact on her home of Troy. We are indebted to her for her service and example, and duly honor her for them.”

Because of her dedication and passion in Troy and Pike County, President Lyndon B. Johnson invited Warren to attend a White House conference on civil rights. Warren later helped to start the local Organized Community Action Program, leading the way for human rights, as well as civil rights.

District 6 Councilmember Dejerilyn Henderson attends church with Warren, who also lives in District 6. Henderson said Warren has been a longtime role model of hers.

“She is almost 100,” Henderson said. “I think it is one of the most honorable things that the City of Troy will do. She physically got out and went from house to house to ensure that everyone had the chance to vote.”

Following the city council meeting on June 25 at 5 p.m., the public is invited to a reception honoring Johnnie Mae Warren.