First African American female bus operator in Greensboro retires after 40 years of service

Community

GREENSBORO, N.C> — March is reserved as a time to celebrate and highlight the accomplishments women are making on our society. In Greensboro, Elizabeth “Liz” McKinnon, was in the driver’s seat and put public transportation on a new route.

McKinnon was hired by Duke Power Transit in June 1981 when the company was looking for female drivers. Duke Power Transit was the predecessor of today’s Greensboro Transit Agency.

McKinnon said James Walden Junior encouraged her to apply for the Duke Power Transit job. When she was hired, McKinnon became the first African American female bus operator.

“Everyone welcomed me in as a bus operator. Most of the men that worked there were father figures,” McKinnon said.

McKinnon said she was proud of the fact that she was the first African American female driver. It was a historical note she often added to GTA’s Black Heritage Ride. The Black Heritage Ride is a city bus that combined public transportation and history.

“I was honored and very humbled at the same time,” McKinnon said.

But after 40 years of service, McKinnon’s next stop is retirement. She is hoping her 40-year journey will encourage other women to pursue careers in male-dominated fields.

“If I can do it these many years, if it something you truly desire, with God’s help, you can do it as well,” McKinnon said.

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