The stretch of South Main Street from Veterans Parkway to its juncture with Darsey Street will bear a new name soon.
Hinesville City Council members unanimously approved renaming the stretch of road Charles Frasier Boulevard in honor of the late longtime council member. Many of Frasier’s family and friends filled the seats in the council’s audience Thursday.
“This is an extremely fitting gesture,” said Mayor Allen Brown.
Frasier, the first Black person elected to Hinesville City Council, spent 28 years on the council. He was a charter member and president of Eleven Black Men of Liberty County, president of the Liberty County High School Alumni Association, on the trustees board at Pleasant Grove AME Church, president of the Liberty County Branch of the NAACP, chairman of the Liberty County Democratic Party and a member of the State Democratic Committee. Frasier also served in the Air Force in the Vietnam War.
Frasier passed away in August 2018.
State Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway) and Frasier were best friends for more than 50 years.
“This is bittersweet,” Williams acknowledged, referring to the passing of his friend. “I never wanted to say anything about Charles Frasier after the fact. He was my closest friend and closest confidante. This city owes a great debt to Charlies Frasier. I will drive down Charles Frasier Boulevard just to feel his spirit.
“You have made a monumental step. You have done a great, great thing,” Williams said to council members.
The family, including Liberty County Commissioner Justin Frasier, one of Charles’ sons, and Charles’ brother former Walthourville mayor Henry Frasier, expressed their gratitude for the honor.
“All I can say is ‘thank you, thank you, thank you,’” said Frasier’s widow Shirley. “It is definitely an honor to be naming that street after my husband.
Charles Frasier was instrumental in getting a street named for local civil rights leader Ralph Quarterman and getting the street that ran in front of Hinesville City Hall named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“There is nothing better than what you are doing here today,” Henry Frasier said.
Many of the current council members said Frasier was the reason they were on the council.
“Charles was instrumental in my becoming a council person,” said Vicky Nelson. “Charles really deserves this in his honor.”
Council member Jason Floyd recalled sitting next to Frasier during his early days on the council.
“I learned a lot about government from Charles,” Floyd said. “He was a great teacher. He was someone who even if you didn’t agree with on an issue, when the issue was over, that was all right. That taught me a lot about how government was supposed to work.”
Council member Karl Riles recalled meeting Frasier when Riles was a member of the Sunbeam choir at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
“He was city government to us,” Riles said. “Even as a young child, he gave us something to emulate. Way before these conversations about how much representation mattered, Charles Frasier was representation.”
Mayor Brown served alongside Frasier as a council member and as mayor.
“We were the new guys on council,” he said.
City Manager Kenneth Howard pointed to Frasier’s support of the Azalea Street redevelopment as one of the most impactful projects in the city’s history. The city’s first attempts to secure funding for it failed, Howard pointed out.
“Charles would not allow that to be the end,” he said.
Instead, at a dinner the night before meeting with state Department of Community Affairs officials, Frasier, Howard, then city manager Billy Edwards and then mayor Tom Ratcliffe devised a concept plan that won over the state and provided funding.
“It was very important to have Charles Frasier in that discussion because he could provide insight no one else could,” Howard said. “He would always say, ‘I’m not a politician — I’m a public servant.’” The road also will pass by Cherie Murrell Street, where Frasier’s family resides.
The push to rename the stretch of road came from Council member Keith Jenkins’ suggestion during a workshop.
“I am 100% behind the renaming,” Council member Diana Reid said.
“This is a worthwhile and well-deserved honor,” Howard said.