Meridian to honor David Ruffin with street naming, star unveiling

Photo courtesy of The National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame

David Ruffin

If you don’t know him by name, you’ve probably heard him sing about “sunshine on a cloudy day.”

Soon, a street and a sidewalk in Meridian will bear the name of David Ruffin.

Ruffin, who was born in Whynot and claimed Meridian as home, became one of the lead singers of the Motown group The Temptations and performed chart-topping hits such as “My Girl” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.”

Meridian city leaders announced Friday plans for a celebration on Oct. 26 including the ceremonial naming of a four-block section of 8th Street near the Temple Theatre as “David Ruffin Boulevard.”

Mississippi’s Arts + Entertainment Experience will also place a star in Ruffin's name on its Walk of Fame.

A street parade led by the Jackson State University Marching Band, the “Sonic Boom of the South,” will be part of the celebration, according to a news release.  

“We are proud to honor this music legend with a street being named after one of the greatest R&B singers of all time, and we want to invite family and friends to Meridian for a day of celebrating his career,” said a statement from Mayor Percy Bland.

“He’s going to be beaming that day,” said LaMont Robinson, the founder and CEO of the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. 

Robinson, who is also Ruffin’s son-in-law, said he came up with the idea after presenting a similar plan to the city of Detroit, Michigan, where Ruffin lived in the 70s and 80s. 

On June 13, Detroit renamed a section of Parkside Street “David Ruffin Avenue,” Robinson said. 

Robinson said his wife, Cheryl Ruffin Robinson, is glad her father is “finally getting his due.”

The family plans to bring a big crew to the Meridian celebration, including Ruffin’s wife, daughters, and some of his grandchildren, Robinson said.

“I think he would be very proud for his children, his great grandchildren and the city of Meridian, to know that they thought that much of him to name a street after him,” Robinson said. “It will help put him right where he should be, right at the top of the list.”

Robinson said he would like to eventually open a Meridian museum honoring Ruffin so young people in the city can see where he learned his skills.

Schedule of events

David Ruffin ceremonies in Meridian, Saturday, Oct. 26.

11 a.m.: Star Unveiling at The MAX, 2155 Front St.

11:30 a.m.: Parade begins from The MAX to the Temple Theatre.

Noon: Street UNVEILING (Temple Theatre, corner of 8th Street & 24th Avenue).

12:20 p.m.: Parade continues to City Hall Lawn.

1:00 p.m.: Celebration begins at City Hall.

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