From the Rose City to the White House: Biden’s secretary of defense pick has ties to Thomasville

Updated: Dec. 8, 2020 at 6:06 PM EST
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THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) - President-Elect Joe Biden is expected to pick a retired general raised in Thomasville as his secretary of defense.

According to the Associated Press, Four Star-Army General Lloyd Austin would be the first Black man to be in this position.

Owner of the Black History Museum in Thomasville, Jack Hadley said he’s known Austin for years.

Hadley said Austin is from Mobile, Ala., but grew up in Thomasville. Austin also graduated from Thomasville High School.

He is the second African-American from Thomasville to go to West Point, after his great uncle, Lt. Henry O. Flipper.

📣 Congratulations to Thomasville High Alum, General Lloyd J. Austin on being nominated to serve as the Secretary of...

Posted by Thomasville City Schools - Thomasville, GA on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Hadley said Austin comes back to Thomasville often and has donated multiple uniforms and artifacts to the Black History Museum.

He said Biden’s pick of Austin holds precedence in Thomasville.

”This lets the world know that Thomasville can produce some of the best people in the world, white or Black. It just swells me up inside to know that we got a young man here that grew up in Thomasville, he’s moved all the way up the ladder and yet, he hasn’t forgotten his roots,” said Hadley.

Hadley said it’s important to highlight the accomplishments of not only Austin but other African-Americans who come from Thomasville.

”We can exhibit them in the museum, whether it’s sports, movies, anything that enriches our young people. It just makes me feel good to know that we can tell those little kids running around here that don’t think there’s hope for them, there is hope,” said Hadley.

Austin would need to obtain a congressional waiver to serve as defense secretary.

It has been granted twice in the past.

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