Mercer Statue to be Placed in Ellis Square


Diane Thurman, Chair, Johnny Mercer Centennial Committee, and Susie Chisholm, sculptor are pictured with the statue.
Diane Thurman, Chair, Johnny Mercer Centennial Committee, and Susie Chisholm, sculptor are pictured with the statue.

The life-size bronze statue of Johnny Mercer has been granted a home.

Mayor Otis Johnson and City Council voted unanimously to approve the statue’s placement in Ellis Square.

On November 18, 2009 — the date that would have been Johnny Mercer’s 100th birthday — his statue will be dedicated in Ellis Square.

During this celebra- tion, many events will be held including the celebration of West Broad Street in the early 1900’s, and the African American influence on Johnny’s life. Executives from New York, Hollywood and London have confirmed their attendance for several days of festivities.

Based on the recommendation from the Metropolitan Planning Commission, the bronze statue of John Herndon Mercer will reside in the west quadrant

of Ellis Square, positioned along the walkway to welcome visitors to the square.

On hand for the vote was Steven Gerard, President of The Friends of Johnny Mercer, Inc., and statue committee co-chairs Dianne S. Thurman and Nancy Mercer Gerard.

It was Mrs. Thurman and Mrs. Gerard who spearheaded the statue approvals through the MPC Technical Advisory Committee, and Sites and Monuments Commission.

“It is the rare, once in a lifetime opportunity that I have to be involved with the Johnny Mercer Centennial, and also to help bring this Johnny Mercer statue to reality,” shares Dianne S. Thurman, chair of Mayor Otis Johnson’s Johnny Mercer Centennial Steering Committee.

“Personal donations and community support have made this possible. I am truly grateful for Mayor Johnson’s and City Council’s unanimous and heartfelt vote of approval.”

“I believe Uncle Bubba [Johnny Mercer] would be very happy to be, yet again, greeting Savannahians and City Market visitors to the square,” shared an elated Nancy Mercer Gerard, the devoted niece of Mr. Mercer. “I can envision friends getting together for lunch or dinner, and saying, ‘Where do you want to meet?’ and the reply will be, ‘Let’s meet at Johnny,’ in Ellis Square.”

“Johnny Mercer dearly loved his hometown. How fitting it is that the Mercer statue will reside in Savannah’s newly constructed Ellis Square, with new vibrancy for new generations, and Johnny is a part of it,” Mrs. Thurman concluded.

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