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Marvin Arrington Sr., former Fulton judge and Atlanta Council President, dies at 82


Surrounded by his family, the honorable Marvin Stephens Arrington Sr., a distinguished judicial and political figure in Atlanta, passed away on July 5, 2023, at the age of 82. His cause of death has not been disclosed by the family.

Throughout his career, Arrington made significant contributions as a judge in the Superior Court of Fulton County and the President of the Atlanta City Council.

A native of Atlanta who was raised in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood, Arrington attended Booker T. Washington High School and Clark Atlanta University where he received his political science degree. Arrington became one of the first two Black students to undertake full-time studies in 1965 at Emory University School of Law. His accomplishment paved the way for future generations of Blacks to attend.  

Arrington established a successful law practice in Atlanta, but soon sought to combine his legal expertise with his passion for public service as he sought a political career. Arrington was elected to the Atlanta Board of Aldermen in 1969, which is now the present-day City Council. Arrington served 25 years on this body, including 17 years as Council President.

He is credited with tirelessly advocating for economic development and accessible housing as well as driving the city’s transformation from a segregated community to the progressive city it is today. A man of firsts, Arrington was the youngest Black person ever elected to the Atlanta City Council.

Arrington was part of the team that helped bring the Summer Olympic Games to Atlanta in 1990. He ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Atlanta in 1997, but three years later,  Governor Roy Barnes appointed him to the esteemed Fulton County Superior Court in 2000.

Arrington would serve in that role until he retired in 2013. Over the years, he received numerous awards and recognition for his impact on Atlanta. In 1998, he received the Georgia Bar Association’s highest community service award, the Chief Justice Robert Benham Award for Community Service.

In 2019, the Atlanta City Council Chamber was renamed in his honor. Arrington was recognized as a respected leader and a beacon of inspiration for generations to come. His tireless efforts in advancing civil rights and promoting a more equitable society have left an indelible impact on the Atlanta community and beyond.

In a statement, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said Atlanta has “lost a lion” with the loss of Arrington.

“I cannot, at this moment, think of a single person who loved Atlanta more than he loved us, and we will always be grateful that he indeed ‘wouldn’t stay in his place,” Dickens said.  

Arrington is survived by his son, Marvin Arrington, Jr., his daughter, Michelle Arrington and ex-wife Marilyn Arrington. 


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