Georgia Historical Society to Dedicate New Civil Rights Trail Historical Marker Recognizing Mayor Richmond D. Hill

Staff Report

Friday, March 24th, 2023

The Georgia Historical Society (GHS) will dedicate a new Civil Rights Trail historical marker recognizing Richmond D. Hill, Georgia’s first Black mayor, on Saturday, March 25, 2023, in partnership with The Odessadale Preservation Committee and the City of Greenville. The dedication is open to the public and will take place at 11:00 a.m., adjacent to City Hall at 101 North Depot Street in Greenville, Georgia.

“The Richmond D. Hill historical marker commemorates the election of the first African-American mayor in Georgia,” says Elyse Butler, GHS Marker Manager. “The marker illustrates the impact of the NAACP’s grassroots voter registration campaign, particularly in rural communities, in the 1973 election. We are pleased to add this historical marker to the growing GHS Georgia Civil Rights Trail.”

Following the federal passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, African Americans mobilized to increase African-American voter registration in rural communities. Richmond D. Hill, a local funeral director, entrepreneur, and activist, was among the founding members of the Meriwether County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Through the NAACP, Hill assisted the efforts to educate, organize, and register rural African-American voters.

In 1968, Richmond D. Hill was elected as councilman, becoming Meriwether County’s and Greenville’s first Black councilman, a result that demonstrated the effects of the grassroots efforts. Richmond D. Hill’s successful mayoral campaign in 1973 made him the first African American to be elected mayor of a municipality in Georgia. A record number of elections across the country resulted in the appointments of Black candidates that year, including two other trailblazing electoral wins in the state: Andrew Young, the first African-American US Congressman since Reconstruction, and Maynard Jackson, the first African-American mayor of a major southern city in Atlanta. Hill served as mayor for nearly ten years before retiring from public service.

To learn more about the Richmond D. Hill: Georgia’s First Black Mayor historical marker, please contact Keith Strigaro, Director of Communications at the Georgia Historical Society, at 912-651-2125 ext. 153 or