When you meet Floyd Griffin, his statesmanship, coupled with his basis connection to the man on the street – and the cowboy boots , is extraordinary and impressive. A conversation with Floyd Griffin will quickly reveal that he has a calling to serve and protect his fellowman and his community. And, therefore, for Floyd Griffin, making history is just his way of life.
This Black man, Floyd L. Griffin, Jr. who was born and raised in Milledgeville, GA, is a retired U.S. Army colonel and war pilot, former Georgia state senator, former mayor of Milledgeville, GA, and a successful businessman. With a few other titles mixed in along the way, simply put, he has to have made history in amassing all of these accomplishments.
Believing that education was the way to achieve success, the credit goes to Floyd’s mom and dad who must have stayed on his case. Griffin holds an A.S. in funeral service from Grupton Jones College, a B.S. degree in building construction from Tuskegee Institute and a master’s degree in contract procurement and management from the Florida Institute of Technology. He is also a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the National War College.
Griffin gave twenty-three years to his country in the U. S. Army. He served as a helicopter pilot and flight instructor in Vietnam. He served a tour of duty in Germany, where he was a logistics officer, battalion executive administrator, and director of engineering and housing. After commanding an engineering battalion at Fort Stewart, GA, he served on the Army staff at the Pentagon. When Griffin retired from the military as a colonel, he taught military science at Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University, where he was the offensive backfield coach for a football team that won back-to-back championships for two years.
Coming back to his roots to serve was a calling too loud to reject. So, Floyd Griffin came back to middle Georgia with a determination to tackle and solve a few problems he witnessed as a young boy when racial discrimination was rampant in Milledgeville in 1940 and 1950 – and still present. Griffin got his first political lesson when he ran for a seat on the Baldwin County Commission; he didn’t win this county race, but moved on to become elected state senator from the 25th District of Georgia in 1994 and was re-elected for a second term. Griffin was the first African American to be elected to the Georgia Senate from a rural, majority white legislative district in Georgia since reconstruction. He gave up his Senate seat to run for lieutenant governor but lost. Griffin ran for mayor of Milledgeville, his hometown, and won in 2001 where he served this city — known as the antebellum capital of Georgia — until defeated in 2005. His service as the first, and only, African American mayor is another topic and a lesson in politics that should be placed in the history books. He left the city of Milledgeville with a balanced budget, new housing and new industry.
An accomplished entrepreneur, Griffin runs Slater Funeral Home, a successful family-owned perpetual care business in downtown Milledgeville. Slater Funeral Home has been in this community for more than ninety-five years.
Floyd Griffin has just completed his autobiography, “Legacy to Legend – Winners Make It Happen,” which examines the life, works, and contributions of Floyd Griffin. The book is available on Amazon and should soon be available at several book stores in the immediate future. I cannot wait to read it.
Not every man or woman can walk with kings and keep the common touch. I’ve know a few such people . . . and Floyd Griffin certainly takes his place as one among few.