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  • Writer's pictureExavious (Zā)

Juxtaposed Mobility

Updated: Feb 21

The central southern city with the “Magic” moniker carries a heavy history that bears no illusion. Not so many decades ago, Birmingham was on fire. The racially charged flames of hate were stoked by ill-placed municipal leadership and the inequitable posture of Jim Crow South. In an era marked by exhaustive civil rights efforts, Birmingham served as the barometer of race relations across the southeastern U.S.

 

Between a stifling paradigm and a hope for progress stood Theophilus Eugene Connor; a polarizing figure whose violent disdain for the civil rights movement was propagated through real-life horrors. No random actor, “Bull” Connor was fully empowered via his employment, to mobilize division and destruction. The images of peaceful protesters being attacked by police dogs and warded off by fire hoses… yeah, that was him. As the cruel producer of unscrupulous actions against people in his jurisdiction, Bull Connor chose to be egregious rather than edify. Yet today, an etched slab of stone greets every person who darkens the door of the City of Birmingham’s Fleet Services building, naming T. Eugene Connor as one of its dedicatees.




But inside that same building sits the desk of a gentleman whose service to Birmingham has spanned all but two years of the last three decades. An indigenous son of the city, Mr. Cedric Roberts has an intimate relationship with the once-steel-town that’s becoming a bedrock of tech influence and economic influx. Donning the same position as his infamous predecessor, Roberts has curated an environment antithetical to that which stained the pages of Birmingham’s history.

 

Known as a man of very few words, his actions have spoken volumes for multiple generations of fleet management professionals who’ve benefited from his mentorship. Having established workforce development programming designed to welcome young people into the world of Fleet, many careers have started and matured under his supervision. A tenured student of the craft, Cedric’s commitment to operational excellence is evidenced by his devotion to continuing education. Never one to hoard gainful insight, he enables efficiencies to keep the city on the correct side of tech advancement. As an early adopter of vehicle #electrification, he’s using his influence to shift the Birmingham landscape toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.

 


His quiet demeanor invites the city’s constituents to greet him in genuine pleasantry. Whether in the garage, city hall, or Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, it’s a near guarantee to witness Roberts in multiple kind exchanges that are accentuated with welcome discussion. He makes time. He listens. And when he does speak, his words are pragmatic and contributive.


For today’s Birmingham and the facets of growth fueling its potential, plenty of factors deserve credit. At the core of that amalgamation of activity is a transportation industry engineered to move the world. And as innovations perpetually change our daily lives, the necessity of #mobility remains constant. The facilitation of free and efficient movement empowers the populous. The route in which that power is pointed is wholly contingent upon which hands are on the wheel. For the sake of the Magic City and the families shaped by its dismal past, we’re thankful that its first #Black Director of Fleet Services is steering in the right direction.

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