The city of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation, Councilmember Michael Julian Bond and community members took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday for the Ella Mae Wade Brayboy Memorial Park. Located at 1210 Lena Street NW in Atlanta, the space is dedicated to a woman who was a legend in voter registration in Georgia.
According to her obituary in The AJC, the Atlanta native became one of Georgia’s first black deputy voter registrars in 1964. She registered a record 10,000 black voters during that decade. Her life was consumed by activism. She worked as a congressional aide to former U.S. Rep. Andrew Young. Former Gov. Joe Frank Harris appointed her to one of the first commissions to oversee the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. She was director of community affairs for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for 15 years.
She died of natural causes in 2010 at the age of 92.
A graduate of from Booker T. Washington High, she helped get the school placed on the National Register of Historic Places. As chair of the Resource Development for the Fulton County Council on Aging, she succeeded in getting seniors half-price taxi fares. She played a role in the establishment of a geriatric clinic at Grady Hospital. She had a hand in the replacement of the state’s centralized balloting system with voting precincts. As a MARTA consultant, she helped decide what neighborhoods the transit would go through. And she helped residents in the Pittsburgh community get indoor plumbing, electricity and natural gas service. Through the years, Mrs. Brayboy’s work was honored by churches, civic groups and politicians. She received the YWCA’s 1988 Women of Achievement Award. The Atlanta organizing committee of the Million Man March in 1998 paid tribute to her and other seniors.
She retired from the King Center in 1995. A collection of her clippings, correspondence, photos and other documents are archived at the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History.
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