As a longtime NAACP foot soldier in this small Southern port city, Robert Griffin has witnessed his share of civil rights struggles.
In the early 1960s, when Griffin tried to place an order at the front window of a Dairy Queen, where whites typically lined up, the owner met him with a butcher’s knife.
In 1965, when he bought a house in a white neighborhood, the sheriff instructed him to make sure his family slept in the back room just in case the house was firebombed.
And when the city’s racially segregated high schools merged in 1970, he and other staff would go out into the school parking lot to monitor black and white students who kept chains and baseball bats in their car trunks.
On Friday morning, the 82-year-old retired teacher and former NAACP community organizer was among hundreds outside the Glynn County Courthouse in downtown Brunswick to call for justice for Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was chased by two white men and shot dead as he jogged along a suburban street.
“It was blatant murder,” Griffin said before the rally. “This, to me, is a form of lynching.”
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, with felony murder and aggravated assault Thursday evening — over 10 weeks after the Feb. 23 incident — after mounting national criticism of local prosecutors’ handling of the case.