ATLANTA — Thursday was a day of remembrance for Atlanta trailblazer Marvin Arrington Sr., as the former Fulton County Superior Court Judge laid in state at Atlanta City Hall.
Arrington Sr. was honored inside the city council chambers, which were named after him a few years ago.
The chambers were packed with many Atlanta leaders who were on that journey with Arrington Sr.
Richard Rose is the president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP.
He came to Atlanta City Hall Thursday for the first memorial to honor his friend since he died at the age of 82 three weeks ago.
“He was a great Atlantan - made a lot of contributions to this city,” Rose said. “He’s the epitome of what activism was. You know, what those of us who are born in the 40s and 50s came to politics with the understanding that we owed it to the community.”
Arrington Sr. integrated Emory University’s School of Law by becoming one of the first Black graduates.
He was first elected to Atlanta City Council right after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
He became council president and kept that seat for 17 years - the longest in history.
He ran one of the biggest Black law firms in Atlanta, then was appointed to be a Fulton County Superior Judge.
He grew up in The Bluff, one of Atlanta’s most dangerous areas.
Retired Atlanta Police Chief Eldrin Bell remembers how Arrington Sr. used his rough upbringing to help create “the new Atlanta.”
“Yes because he was always on both sides of the coin. Some things you do people consider good - some bad,” Bell said.
Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond said the service inside the council chambers named after Arrington Sr. was fitting for a giant.
“It was because of the deliberate actions and work of people like Marvin Arrington that made the Atlanta we enjoy. When we hand it over we have to remind people of how we got here,” Bond said.
A private wake for the family happens this evening and on Friday there will be the official homegoing memorial at Ebenezer Baptist Church.