Rep. Gilliard Pre-Files Legislation To Honor First 33 Black Georgia State Legislators

Carl Gilliard
Carl Gilliard

State Representative Carl Gilliard (D-Garden City) recently pre-filed legislation which would honor the first 33 Black state legislators of the Georgia General Assembly. House Bill 48 would authorize the state to create a monument recognizing these legislators at the State Capitol.

“These incredible men fought countless battles just to represent Black voices at the Capitol, and a monument would allow our state to tell their stories,” said Rep. Gilliard. “Georgia’s deep history of voter suppression dates back to Reconstruction, but we can help stop history from re peating itself by bringing the story of the Original 33 to the forefront. I hope my fellow colleagues in the House will stand with these pioneers for civil rights by passing House Bill 48 during the upcoming session.”

In 1868, 33 African American men, or the “Original 33,” were elected to the Georgia General Assembly, making them some of the first Black state legislators in the U.S. However, the Original 33 were expelled from office within the same year. To honor these men, Rep. Gilliard seeks to establish a permanent monument recognizing their pioneering work and suffering for attempting to integrate Georgia’s legislature. Under House Bill 48, the monument would be erected on Capitol grounds, within the Capitol building or in another prominent place that would honor the Original 33. If HB 48 is enacted, the state would be authorized to procure and place the monument as soon as possible. The state previously dedicated a statue to Black legislators who were expelled from office based on their race, but HB 48 would authorize the state to specifically recognize the Original 33.

Rep. Gilliard also recently produced the documentary “The Original 33,” which will be released in February 2021.

House Bill 48 will be formally introduced during the 2021 legislative session, which starts January 11, 2021.

For more information on HB 48, please visit www.legis.ga.gov/ legislation/58840.

Representative Carl Gilliard represents the citizens of District 162, which includes portions of Chatham County. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2016 and currently serves on the Appropriations

Subcommittee on Economic Development, Insurance, Interstate Cooperation, State Properties and Transportation committees. He is a member of the Working Group on Creative Arts & Entertainment and the Georgia Film, Music, and Digital Entertainment Commission.

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