ABC Wednesday is celebrating the letter H this week,
and Willie Carlyle is a Selma native who moved
up north at the age of 19, but his HEART was HERE,
and he came HOME to retire.
I was taking pictures of renovations at the Old Depot Museum recently,
and he appeared to be a tourist looking at Civil Rights displays
when he mentioned that he was there!
He was there crossing the bridge on "Bloody Sunday"
and there on Highway 80 in the Selma-to-Montgomery March.
"I was just 16 and a student at R.B. Hudson High School," he said,
and was not hurt during the melee,
"but I was chased by horses back across the bridge."
While his mother was treated for a long-term illness in an out-of-town facility,
he lived with his aunt and her 10 children and spent some of his free time
working as a delivery boy at Post Office Drugs. The owner helped him learn
to drive and get his driver's license "so I could deliver medicines by car
instead of by bike." He worked at a few other Selma businesses
before moving to Michigan and getting a job with General Motors.
There, he worked on an assembly line,
became a team leader, troubleshooter and later an inspector.
The plant closed just two years before he was due to retire, so he returned
to Alabama and finished his automotive career in Tuscaloosa.
He bought a house in Selma and later became a school bus driver.
Now, he's really retired, he said, "and when I look back over my life,
I realize that I have come a long way!"
Linking to ABC Wednesday