Valley honors pioneer of equal opportunity employment

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

VALLEY — A local man who was a pioneer in equal opportunity employment and who has been a long-time supporter of his church has been honored with a mayor’s proclamation. Robert F. Busbee was recognized by the Valley City Council on Monday as a special event during Black History Month.

A native of Wadley, Alabama, Busbee moved to the Langdale community in 1956 and graduated from Lanier High in 1957. He worked at Shawmut Mill upon graduation and was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963. He served two years in the military before returning home to the Valley and worked again at Shawmut Mill. In the summer of 1970, he became the first African American to be a maintenance technician in the mill. Six years later he was the first African American promoted to the rank of supervisor at Shawmut Mill.

“Mr. Busbee married Priscilla A. Johnson on August 14, 1966,” the proclamation reads. “Together, they raised three children, Ingrid, Patrick and Byron. He is a member of the Zion Rest Baptist Church in Valley and has served on the church’s board of deacons for more than 25 years.”

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The proclamation was read aloud by Council Member Henry Cooper. 

“It’s an honor and a privilege for me to present this to an outstanding citizen of my district,” he said. “It has been so good for me to have known you and all the good things you have done for your church and our community.”