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Mayor Steve Patterson proclaims that October 6 is "Scripps Day," in Athens, Ohio, Oct. 6, 2023, in the 1951 Lounge of Alden Library. This date is the 100th Anniversary of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.

Davison Court named in commemoration of Andrew Jackson Davison

City officials, students and Athens residents gathered at a new street, Davison Court, which is along Herrold Avenue, Thursday to witness the unveiling of a new street sign to commemorate Andrew Jackson Davison, the first Black practicing attorney in Athens.

After the Civil War, Davison went from being enslaved, with little to no education, to obtaining a license to practice law. He was from Alabama but after the war ended, Union soldiers moved him to Ohio. Davison eventually resided in Athens with his wife, Eliza Brown Davison, and purchased a home on the west side.

The Andrew Jackson Davison Club, or AJD, was formed in 2019 and founded in the Athens Middle School. The club was formed to advocate for Davison’s portrait to be hung in the Athens County Courthouse because he was excluded from the composite photo of other attorneys at the time, Ella Pauwels, a founding member of the club, said.

In 2020, the middle schooler's initiatives were heard and the portrait was added to the courthouse. 

The club now has grown to include a high school chapter, and the five members were at the event to speak before the unveiling to explain some of the research they found on Andrew and Eliza.

The students also highlighted some of the recent projects the club completed. 

Two of the projects mentioned included the refurbishing of the Recording Angel statue, located in the West State Street Cemetery, and the club’s annual Black History Month celebration events.

Andy Stone, Athens service-safety director, said initially, the street was scheduled to be an extension of Herrold Avenue. He said those living on the street still have a Herrold Avenue address. 

Lacey Rogers, the diversity equity inclusion and accessibility coordinator for the City of Athens, said she is involved with the club in a variety of ways. Rogers said for the last three years she has been involved with the club’s Black History Month events. 

“Angie, who oversees this group, just invites me as a community member who is invested in anti-racism work and racial equity work to continue to do projects with this group,” Rogers said. 

She also said she learns as much from the club members as she teaches them. Rogers said it's great to see people start getting involved in equity and inclusion work from a young age.

“There are so many different players that are involved in this work, and just the youth getting involved from an early age is a really great thing to be able to see,” Rogers said. 

Mayor Steve Patterson also spoke before the unveiling of the road sign. He said the sign to honor the work of Davison was overdue, but the unveiling is also to honor the work of the AJD club.

“We are honoring (AJD) with this roadway, but this is also honoring you … to reflect back on all the work that you have done and continue to do,” Patterson said. “We work harder every single day when it comes to how we can become a more racially equitable community.”

The sign was officially unveiled by three high school members of AJD and was followed with refreshments and brownies.


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