AUGUSTA, Georgia (WJBF) – Community members and town leaders keep the memory of a local woman alive. Rosa Lee Barnes was shot dead almost three decades ago. On Saturday afternoon, family members unveiled a street sign in his honor at 8th and Grand Ave.
“She was a trailblazer here on 8th and Grand streets,” said Janet H. Brown, Barnes’ oldest granddaughter.
And now those same streets will be officially called Rosa Lee Barnes Boulevard.
“This region was a place where a queen resided,” said Brown.
Rosa Lee Barnes was known as the neighborhood granny.
“She did what no one else would. If you were hungry, she would feed you. If you needed clothes, a place to sleep, she had a place to sleep. She was just a peacemaker, ”she said.
But the 83-year-old peacekeeper was the victim of a fatal car shooting just outside her home in 1997.
“That’s actually where she got shot. So that’s where it all started.”
Tammy Heath, one of Barnes’ granddaughters, took NewsChannel 6 to the house where she remembers spending much of her time as a child.
“Now I can walk through here and think about the times we shared together in this house. For a long time coming here was sad, because when you walk past her all you can think of is that that’s where she died, ”said Heath.
“But on Saturday afternoon, family and community members ensured that Barnes’ legacy will be remembered forever.
Augusta commissioners approved Grand Boulevard to be renamed Rosa Lee Barnes Boulevard in October. A request was submitted by Katrina Moore, another granddaughter of Barnes, and approved by Commissioners Dennis Williams and Francine Scott.
“Over time her story will be continually told and people passing by may say, oh yes I remember her or something of that nature and then it may change their behavior somewhat,” said the commissioner. Williams.
Commissioner Scott grew up in the same neighborhood as Barnes and often went to his grocery store.
“We never had a lot of money to buy what we wanted to buy but when we went to the store she would always say, well what do you girls today and we’ll just have all kinds of candy , crisps and pickles, said Commissioner Scott.
Barnes was known for its grocery store which fed the whole community.
“You see back then we didn’t have any food desserts because we had people like Mrs. Barnes give our parents food on credit and we pay when we had the money to pay” , said Commissioner Scott.
The sign was planted a few yards from where the Barnes store was located. Her children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren were there, one said that she fed the community with more than food, but with wisdom.
“Just as Martin Luther King had a dream, Rosa Lee Barnes had a goal”