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Airport may be named after civil rights worker

ALBANY -- After collaborating with city staff and the family of Johnnie Johnson, Albany city commissioners say that they've whittled down the list of possible places to rename in Johnson's honor to two.

Johnson, a former city public works employee, led about 260 black sanitation and utility workers to strike in the spring of 1972 and then, along with five others, sued for equitable rights and pay in local government in what would become a landmark civil rights case in Georgia.

Yaz Johnson, his son, has been lobbying city and Dougherty County officials for a decade to name a building or structure after his father. Most recently, Yaz Johnson went before the City Commission in October to ask that the soon-to-be-constructed Broad Avenue bridge bear his father's name.

Tuesday, Ward III Commissioner Christopher Pike told the commission that after research by city staff members, the bridge had become unfeasible for renaming because the original bridge was dedicated to veterans of the first World War and would be rededicated to the veterans once the new bridge is built.

But Pike said that city staff had identified three city properties that could be renamed. The first property, the Law Enforcement Center at the corner of Washington and Oglethorpe is not an option, he said. Of the remaining two -- the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport and the Municipal Auditorium -- Yaz Johnson has expressed a preference of the airport, Pike said.

Under city policy, the commissioner from the ward in which the building is located must bring a recommendation for a building to be renamed. Since the airport is in Ward VI, Commissioner Tommie Postell said Tuesday that he will meet with Yaz Johnson and discuss the matter with him.

Albany Mayor Willie Adams raised concerns about naming the airport after Johnson, given that the terminal is already named McAfee Terminal after someone and that Atlanta ran into problems renaming the airport after its former mayor Maynard Jackson.

"I don't know if the airport is the right way to go," Adams said. "I don't think we need any slashes in the name like they have in Atlanta. His father needs to be honored, but I think we need to do something that is doable and reasonable."


Margie 4 years ago

OKAY. My brother didn't get a landmark court decisions but he demonstrated for equal rights for African-Americans, was a Freedom Rider, and was beaten with "billy sticks," hosed with water from fire hydrants and attacked by dogs, right here in Albany, Georgia. He also took a white rotating santa clause, got some brown flesh tone paint and introduced little black boys and girls to black Santa Clause, something that was seen anywhere or welcome. Dr. Sanders, pharmacist allowed him to decorate Harlem Cut Rate Drug Store with black Santa. But, before Santa made it to the drug store, my brother was arrested as he walked with black santa from our home to the drug store. He was taunted, cursed , and called everything you could think to call a black young male during those times that was pleasant to your ears. The charge, there is no such thing as a you know what santa. But he gave little black boys and girls hope and a vision that santa could be black in our neighborhood. Years later, black Santa and ornaments bean to be sold during the Christmas season as now. My brother began to get orders from neighbors to paint their white santa black as well as other figurines, ornaments and angels. He probably would have been a wealthy man if he would have patented his work. Commissioners, can he get a building name after him? Or maybe change MLK Jr. Drive to Eddie Brown Jr. Drive since he actually lived in the area and marched down those streets with Dr. King. Like I said, he wasn't a landmark case for the courts, but he certainly spent a lot of time in the jails of Camilla, Baker County, Dougherty and elsewhere fighting for the cause of freedom. My point is, when does it STOP?


albanyherald1 4 years ago

I agree, Margie. When does it stop? There are hundreds of thousands of heros in this area who all deserve recognition. But it is unfathomable to name/rename hundreds of thousands of buildings, streets, bridges, etc. after all those people. Mr. Johnson should just be proud of his family member and make sure his legacy is never forgotten in his own family. Don't we all have family members we are proud of for one reason or another?


TrixibelleBento 4 years ago

Why don't they name the entire City after him? That seems more appropriate.

Why not name a street after him? Buildings don't last forever--streets do.


mortimer 4 years ago

first ol yazzy poo wanted the police/justice center named for a garbage worker not a civil rights worker. Suing the city does not make you a freakin civil rights worker. Then ol yaz wanted the broad avenue bridge named after the garbage worker, then he wanted the first dumpster in the city limits named after him. Now he wants the airport??? I will not fly out of Mcafee air terminal anymore. That was its name before it was changed to the present. Ol Dad was a garbage man as was mine, so name the next landfill after him. His papa cost the taxpayers millions.


Justice4Moma 4 years ago

Leave the Bridge as it is,and the Airport.Now is not the time to be doing all of this.You all are just trying to make a war in Albany.Leave it alone.


VSU 4 years ago

If they named the airport after Johnnie (Done nothing), the airport would shut down within a year.


bubbavet 4 years ago



My2cents 4 years ago

How about a really unique name for the airport like "On Time" ? It could be the ONLY "On Time" airport in the world. I am sure this airport would gain National recognition with a name like that.....but wait, most of the time the flights are NOT "On Time"...oh well, it sounded good. May as well stick with a name no one knows, it will be called the Albany Airport anyways.


TrixibelleBento 4 years ago

Airlines are on time or not on time, not airports.


Cartman 4 years ago

Johnson City, Georgia. lol. If you're going to name the city after him, you'd better hurry before they put the letters on those four new welcome signs.

Why not rename ASU after Johnson? Or name the CITY FOOTBALL STADIUM that we let ASU use for nothing, after him?


whattheheck 4 years ago

I'll go with the stadium too, Carts. But, actually, it belongs to the Board of Regents who put up the dough--only college in GA where taxpayers paid for an athletic stadium rather than alumni foundations etc.


shredex3 4 years ago

Why not name it after him? We give them eveything else. The City and County Commissioners don't have the back bone or the common sense to tell anyone "no"


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