ATLANTA – A Cobb County legislature is looking for another way to honor Hank Aaron, the Atlanta Braves legend who destroyed baseball records and color barriers.

Rep. Teri Anulewicz, a Democrat who represents Smyrna, initially wanted to honor Henry “Hank” Aaron by renaming the I-75 bridge over the Chattahoochee River, which connects Counties Fulton and Cobb. The bridge is currently named after a former Georgia governor and his wife Lester and Virginia Maddox.

However, after speaking with Congressman David Scott, who represents parts of Cobb, Fulton and Clayton Counties, Anulewicz said Aaron’s family would “prefer not to dredge up the racism and harshness that would inevitably come with any attempt to rename the bridge “.

Anulewicz told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that only with the blessing of Aaron’s family would it have passed laws to rename the bridge. Without it, she said she would put this plan on hold.

“This is the beginning of a conversation about how best to honor Hank Aaron,” she said.

Aaron, who died of natural causes last week at the age of 86, celebrated his 715th career home run in Atlanta on April 8, 1974, breaking the home run record set by Babe Ruth. The race for Ruth’s homerun record wasn’t celebrated by everyone: Aaron faced violent racial setbacks, including death threats, as he neared closing the gap.

After retiring from baseball, Aaron established programs and scholarships for black students. In 1999, he became the first black majority owner of a BMW franchise and campaigned to encourage more young black athletes to play baseball. Aaron and his wife, Billye Suber Aaron donated $ 3 million to the Morehouse School of Medicine in 2016 as part of an expansion of the institution’s academic facilities in Atlanta.

Anulewicz said Aaron was an ambassador for the Atlanta Braves to the rest of the world. The team became popular outside of the Southeast in the early days of the Turner Broadcasting System, when Braves games were shown on television across the country.

“Now that the Braves are home to Cobb County, we really want to honor that legacy and honor the work he has done for baseball and its philanthropic endeavors,” said the state official.

Maddox, who died in 2003 at the age of 87, was a staunch segregationist who served as governor from 1967 to 1971.

Prior to entering politics, Maddox owned the Pickrick restaurant near Georgia Tech in Atlanta. When three black patrons went to the restaurant after the Civil Rights Act was signed, a Maddox with a pistol and his ax-hilted supporters confronted the three people according to his obituary for the Atlanta Journal’s constitution. Instead of complying with federal law and integrating its business, Maddox shut down the restaurant and entered politics.

The Chattahoochee River Bridge was named after Maddox in 1999.

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