A street has been renamed in Savannah, Georgia, in honor of Lt. John White, the city’s first Black police officer, on his 97th birthday.
Bouhan Street at Waters Avenue is now officially Lieutenant White Avenue.
The 97-year-old former officer was not only Savannah’s first Black police officer, but also made history as Georgia’s first-ever Black law enforcement officer to be sworn in.
Now, for his 97th birthday gift, he has a street name to preserve his legacy.
“It is amazing to me to see a togethering of these people to wish me good luck,” White said.
District 3 Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan said the renaming pays homage to a community leader.
Pay homage to a leader, life mentor and who was a well-respected community leader much-needed hero who served this community when it was not easy to do.”
According to the Savannah Police Department, White is the last remaining member of “The Original Nine” Black officers to integrate into the department back in 1947.
The veteran police officer also broke ground serving with the Montford Point Marines – the first Black men to serve in the United States Marine Corps.
White, who has served the city for 37 years, is as sharp as ever, and regaled the crowd with entertaining stories surrounded by his family and loved ones.
The department said that before the renaming ceremony, a surprise parade was given by officers and firefighters, driving by with lights and sirens flashing and waving their arms outside to show their respect.
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said that White paved the way for his own success.
“Because of him and the other eight who are no longer with us, we’re able to have an African American Police Chief. We’re able to have folks all over from various areas. To include, an African American Mayor,” Van Johnson said.