Dr. Arnett Elyus Girardeau, Jr.

Jacksonville, FL | 1929 - 2017

Dr. Arnett Elyus Girardeau, Jr., a native of Jacksonville, served as captain of and participated in the 1960s sit-in referred to as “Ax Handle Saturday.” After serving in the military and graduating from Howard University dental school, Dr. Girardeau was elected to the Florida House of Representatives and later to the Florida Senate, becoming one of the founding members of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators and elected as the first Black Senate President Pro Tempore. As a state legislator, he introduced the African Scholarship Program, leading to a number of African-American students receiving a college education. His awards and memberships are extensive, but notable honors include Jacksonville Urban League Award, Jacksonville Community Relations Commission Award for Outstanding Service, Florida Human Relations Commission Legislative Achievement Award, Bethune-Cookman College Outstanding Contributions to Education and Civic Affairs Award, FAMU Meritorious Achievement Award, Howard University Alumni Achievement Award, Mayor’s City of Jacksonville Public Service Award, North Brevard County Branch N.A.A.C.P. Harry T. Moore Leadership Award and the President’s Award for Civil Rights from Jacksonville Branch NAACP.