I am Decatur #12

Wiley Roberson-1

Wiley Roberson has deep roots in Decatur. His parents traveled from Walton County, Georgia to Decatur in 1921. They settled down in the African American community of Beacon Hill, where they raised 11 children. “I was born at 921 Atlanta Avenue, September 13, 1934. The Beacon Hill community was our village. We had everything that we needed. We had businesses, a doctor’s office, grocery stores, a movie theater, restaurants, and a funeral home where the courthouse is sitting now. We thrived.”

In the mid 1960s, urban renewal and white flight occurred. Wiley states that these changes proved to be positive for the people living in his community. “We had a chance to get out of this village and expand and go live in other areas which wasn’t possible back then because the railroad track was our dividing line. The white people started moving out and blacks started buying over there. I have had a wonderful life in Decatur but I’ve seen it change dramatically.“

Wiley is a lay minister at the Lilly Hill Baptist Church on Robin Street, the only structure that still exists from the Beacon Hill era. It has been there for 104 years. “When it’s time to go to Sunday school and church, I like to dress. God wants us to look the best we can, be the best we can, and smell the best we can. I’m not a casual person. I love to dress and I love men’s cologne.”

Wiley was a skilled carpenter, but he also had a talent for singing. “I love to sing gospel songs and I sing at funerals. I have a deep, resonant voice that comes from my stomach. It resonates with folks.” Wiley also loves to cook.” I bake cakes from scratch and and sell them to folks during the holidays. My specialties are old fashion pound cake, key lime and red velvet cakes, and potato soufflé.” Wiley’s secret for baking a successful cake? “ Take your time, have everything at room temperature, and have a good attitude.”

 

 

 

 

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2 comments
  1. jonaber said:

    After being out of town I plan to see if I can reach Brady with Oakhurst Pres. and Creating Community 4 Decatur (with Black Lives Matter). Before calling him I want to make sure it is still an option. Thanks.

    I love Wiley’s story. Look good … smell good … have a good attitude!

    Abie

    >

    • Yes of course. Any recommendations and introductions are appreciated. Thank you!

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