News From District 2

"Children First"

The Legacy of Dr. Thelma Dillard

Hester Bivins and her children changed Macon

by The Macon Telegraph

Macon lost a remarkable citizen with the death of Hester Bivins. She was Macon's counterpart of Rosa Parks, famed far and wide for her role in triggering the national civil rights movement. Bivins' actions in clearing the path to racial equality in Macon did not attract national publicity but were every bit as courageous and significant.

Angered by the rude way a city bus driver had treated her mother, Bivins risked her job, her physical safety and even friendships to become a driving force in the intergration movement of the early 1960s.

She and several of her children took active roles in the bus boycott that succeeded by March 1962 in intergrating the seating on all city buses.

With the bus victory in hand, she next took on the segregated school system. Her son Bert was the first Black student to attend an all white public school in Bibb County.

Inspired by her mother, Bert and his sister Thelma, Board of Education Member and former City Council Member, helped organize a local NAACP youth group committed to intergrating the public schools.

Another daughter, Shirley, headed the list of plaintiffs against the school board in the 1963 suit that finally led to county-wide integration. Three of her children were among the first Blacks to attend all-white Lanier and Miller high schools, now part of the Central complex.

Because of the spirit and convictions of Hester Bivins and those like her, Macon is a better place today for all of us.