“Black History in the Macon” is a blog post series highlighting the rich and diverse Black history currently in the making in Macon, Georgia. Through a series of informative and inspiring posts, readers will discover the contributions and accomplishments of African Americans who have shaped the city’s history. NewTown Macon will also spotlight members of the current African American community who are making a positive impact on the city’s growth and development, showcasing the ever-growing diversity of Downtown Macon. In March, we are featuring Judge Verda Colvin.
Judge Colvin has lived in Macon for 24 years and has four children (two by marriage). She moved to Macon in 1999 to take the role of an Assistant United States Attorney. When she initially moved to Middle Georgia, she was not planning on staying for long but quickly fell in love with Macon. Justice Colvin said that Macon reminded her of Atlanta when she was growing up as a child. The “Big, Small Town Feel” and the ability to get anywhere she wanted in 20 minutes made her feel that Macon was a “Utopia.” Justice Colvin is now one of the 9 Justices on the Georgia Supreme Court and is the first African American woman appointed by a Republican Governor. She has now spent two years on the state’s highest court, handling the most important questions that face our state and community.
Justice Colvin recounted a story about Macon’s growth from when she first started working in Downtown Macon, stating: “By 5:30, it (Macon’s Downtown) was like a ghost town. I mean, you would think tumbleweeds were going to go down the street…I was like, oh my God, this town just dies at 5.” She went on to say that one random night in 2016, she looked out from her office window, and tears filled her eyes. She saw the city lit up and crowds bustling around the downtown streets, and she was amazed at how the downtown had grown. She went on, saying, “It was just so phenomenal to see all the growth that had happened and seeing different people walking up and down the street, of all different races. It just made my heart glad to know I was in a place that was growing and expanding and recognizing. When we make a place that encompasses everyone, we all are happier.”
Justice Colvin said three things inspire her: Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Macon’s growth. Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King Jr. inspired her since she was a child through their devotion to service. Justice Colvin says that she tries to emulate in her life the blueprint that both men laid for a life of helping others. Macon’s growth inspires her to question how she can be more impactful in making Macon even more than it is today.
When asked about what obstacles she has had to face as a Black woman, Justice Colvin responded saying, “I’ve never had a chip on my shoulder about being female or Black, but I have been in situations where it was obvious to me that people discounted me or they didn’t think that I would be capable of what I displayed.” She says that she always has her “A Game on” because she wants people to know that African Americans and women are just as capable as anyone else in our society.
Justice Colvin gives back to Macon’s Black community in whatever way she can. She says she likes doing the little things because it shows people they matter. She gave an example of how she makes sure to speak to schools and help those who are marginalized to let them know that they matter. She states, “And I know just having my position makes people feel like they’re worthy when I show up to certain places and events…I’m always trying to give back to my community because my community made me.”
When asked about a solution to solving racial inequality in Macon, Justice Colvin said that the best practice is to push ourselves to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. She stated, “I know most people don’t want to go outside their comfort zone, but that’s where the fruit is. That’s where you grow. And so, if we begin to do that more and more, I think we can resolve the racial inequality because when you can ‘see’ people, you are more willing to be fair.”
The final question asked was, “If you could go back and tell your 16-year-old self one thing, what would it be?” Justice Colvin responded quickly: “Don’t discount the dreams that you have within you, regardless of what it looks like around you. And that’s hard to do because our world tells you what you can’t do.”