A portion of Peeksville Road in Locust Grove was named for civil rights activist James W. Lemon in early February.

Henry County dedicates portion of road to local civil rights leader

A portion of Peeksville Road in Locust Grove has been named in honor of Henry County civil rights activist James W. Lemon. 

The Henry County Commission and city of Locust Grove earlier this month unveiled road markers dedicated to Lemon on Peeksville near its intersection with Ga. 42 and on Peeksville near South Ola Road.

Lemon, who founded the south metro community’s chapter of the NAACP, fought for better training for teachers in African American schools in the 1940s. He also backed improved conditions for black farmers, including helping them purchase land through the Federal Home Loans Administration, according to the History Makers, a website focusing on the video and oral history of African Americans.

In addition, History Makers said Lemon was “instrumental in persuading then-Georgia Governor Herman Talmadge in enacting civil rights legislation during the 1970s.”

Lemon, who was born in Locust Grove in 1919, died in 2011. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity where the county and the city of Locust Grove, the NAACP and the community came together for an awesome cause,” Commission Chairwoman June Wood said during the dedication. 

District 5 Commissioner Vivian Thomas, the current head of the Henry NAACP, said African Americans like herself owed a debt of thanks to Lemon. His fight for equality paved the way for Thomas and other blacks to achieve elected office and other positions that were once closed to them.

Because of the work he did, I can stand here before you today,” she said, later adding that the NAACP and Locust Grove plan to install a memorial to Lemon at a local park sometime in the future.

Waymond Lemon, James Lemon’s youngest son, said his father would have been pleased by the dedication.  

“I’m sure dad is smiling down on everybody,” he said. “The best city in the world is Locust Grove; the best county is Henry County; the best state, you know, is Georgia, and the best country in the world is the United States.”

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