State Rep. Calvin Smyre of Columbus was one of 10 people added to the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame Friday at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta.
“I am truly honored to be inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame,” said Rep. Smyre. “It is humbling to know that my footprints will be among some of the greatest heroes of the civil rights movement.”
Smyre is a 40-year veteran of the Georgia House, being first elected at the age of 27. He serves on the Appropriations, Rules and Higher Education Committees.
While serving as floor leader for former Gov. Joe Frank Harris, Smyre authored the legislation making King's birthday a state holiday and the legislation creating the Georgia Dome, home of the Atlanta Falcons. He was also instrumental in passing the HOPE constitutional amendment and was co-sponsor of the HOPE Scholarship Program and the legislation creating a new Georgia State Flag.
“Calvin is an accomplished leader, a great Georgian and a man I am proud to call my friend,” said House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “His induction into the Civil Rights Walk Fame is a tremendous honor for him personally and also for the Georgia House of Representatives, as well as a significant achievement in what continues to be an amazing career.”
Smyre earned a BS degree from Fort Valley State University (FVSU), majoring in business administration with a minor in accounting. He serves as chairman of the FVSU Foundation Board of Trustees and is a former national president of the FVSU National Alumni Association.
He is currently executive vice president for corporate external affairs for Synovus Financial Corp.
In addition to Smyre, this year's honorees include Bishop John Hurst Adams, former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, Dr. John Carlos, Dr. Tommie Smith, Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Gladstone Christie, Harry E. Johnson Jr., Thomas N. Todd and the Rev. Jasper W. Williams Jr.
They join a prestigious of list honorees on the Walk of Fame: former U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton; civil rights leaders Rev. Ralph David Abernathy Sr., Medgar Evers, Justice Thurgood Marshall and Rosa Parks; business leaders and philanthropists Arthur Blank, Roberto Goizueta, Jesse Hill Jr., Herman Russell Sr. and Ted Turner; sports and entertainment legends Hank Aaron, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Lena Horne, Magic Johnson, Joe Louis, Sidney Poitier and Stevie Wonder, among others.