Alex C. Habersham is a man of many titles. Some label him as an enterprising businessman, while others call him a mentor, still others esteem him as humanitarian, and the rest consider him a city board member. However people decide to label Habersham, he considers himself to be an educator.
Habersham was born and reared in Macon growing up in the Tindall Heights public housing district. Habersham graduated from Ballard Hudson High School, continuing his education at Savannah State College earning a Bachelors of Arts Degree in English. Habersham furthered his graduate studies at Mercer University and the University of Georgia. Upon the completion of his bachelor’s degree, Habersham taught in Savannah before returning to Macon to teach at his Alma Mater, Ballard Hudson High School.
Habersham was inspired to return and reside in the Macon area because he believes that he has a responsibility to give back to his hometown.
“I feel like a person should have some loyalty to where they grew up,” Habersham said.
Habersham was inspired to become a teacher because he wanted to emulate the educators whom he respected for providing him with guidance.
“I think George Espy had the most influence on me. That shows the importance of teaching and teaching relationships,” Habersham said.
Habersham emphasized that relationships are important. To make a difference in someone’s life you need influence. Influence is trust, it must be earned through the exchange of mutual respect. A lesson that Habersham personifies.
Chester J. Fontenot Jr., a professor at Mercer University has known Habersham for about 20 years. The two were introduced while working on the mayoral campaign for then-candidate Jack C. Ellis. Fontenot said that over the years he and Habersham have worked on numerous projects for the “betterment of the city, county and its residents”.
“Habersham is very committed to both his business and helping people to succeed,” Fontenot said.
Habersham has been working for both the people and the city of Macon for several decades. His dedication to the Macon community has garnered him respect, as well as a host of awards over the years. Habersham’s ambition has continually been to help the Macon-Bibb community and to help people achieve the fullest of their potential. In his desire to elevate others, he’s become a trailblazer in his own right.
For the advancement of underprivileged youth and community development, Habersham created The Bird City Energetics, YABU: Young Adults for Black Unification, APSEP: Association of Political, Social and Economical Progress Community, and the newspaper The Macon Courier. Habersham also co-founded Adopt-A-Role-Model with Jestine Dennard. A program that facilitated the pairing of adolescent males from single parent female-headed households with 120 volunteer adult males to serve and act as mentors with a positive influence.
Habersham has also made history as the first African-American to coach at Lanier High School (during the integration of public schools), hold a position on the Macon-Bibb County Board of Tax Assessors as well as board membership on several other city-county committees and organizations.
“I realized [the] positions that I hold are, because I’m standing on somebody’s [else’s shoulders]. And that I have a responsibility to give back. What I would like to do at this point is to help somebody else, Habersham said.
Habersham recalls his concern for the people within his community. Desiring for them to become more. The longing for people to cultivate themselves, to reach their fullest potential was and continues to be a driving force for Habersham’s business and community endeavors. The initiative to help people succeed was the birth of The Macon-Middle Georgia Black Pages Resource Guide and Macon’s A Call to Action (both known as The Black Pages and A Call to Action).
As an entrepreneur, Habersham is known as the founder and publisher The Black Pages and host of A Call to Action. Habersham has also owned several businesses ranging from Sparkle Car Wash to Habersham Records. Reflecting upon his past businesses, he believes one mistake was dividing his attention rather than focusing one single trade. However, at that time Habersham “wanted a car wash and newspaper and several other things, but all of that is driven by my desire to make a difference and my love for the community.”
A Call to Action began as a radio show with the objective of initiating positive social change with action and interaction. The program is designed to cultivate potential solutions for current issues affecting people in the Middle Georgia area through discussions with local leaders. Episodes are available on YouTube
The Black Pages, established in 1991, is an annual publication that serves as a lifeline in connecting African American and minority business to the local citizens.
The Black Pages are extremely important because many African Americans and minorities have problems with acquiring loans to create a business.
“For businesses to operate effectively they have to have a line of credit,” Fontenot said. “What Alex Habersham has attempted to do, and I think very well is to promote Black businesses within the Macon/Bibb Community. So, we know first of all that they are there. Then second to develop more of a demographic for which these businesses can draw to support them, with the absence of those credit options that businesses need.”
Habersham’s work has paved a road of opportunity for the next generation.
“If you build the motivation within yourself, you can be anything you want to be. There are resources out there to help you. There’s no such thing as a stupid question. If you don’t know you better ask somebody, that’s my philosophy. Keep up the good work, stay tuned, stay determined, make good decisions, and you’re on the way,” Habersham said.