A kid from East Macon with dreams of being an FBI agent, a lawyer, a preacher, and a teacher grows up to be a respected civil rights and community leader in town. Sounds like a great plot for a movie, but it’s the true story of this week’s Staff Spotlight: Reverend Doctor Henry Ficklin.
Dr. Ficklin currently serves as our Executive Director of Community Affairs, but he has a long and storied journey in Macon-Bibb. That includes 30 years on Macon City Council, 39 years as a teacher, and 45 years as a preacher. He was born and raised in East Macon but left home as a young man to attend Abilene Christian University in Texas.
“I graduated from ACU with my degrees in Political Science and the Bible,” Dr. Ficklin said. “My plan when I first started was to be an FBI Agent – that’s what I wanted to do. They told me I needed a law degree, so I was going to go to law school. However, I had done well in Chemistry and even won an award, so I decided I was going to be a Doctor. However, I ended up doing something I love – becoming a teacher.”
His path as a young man included working overnight cleaning floors, working as an orderly, and teaching at Ballard Hudson Junior High – all while attending school to earn his Master of Education and Doctorate in Philosophy. He also dealt with racism amid that – being turned down for many jobs simply for being Black. Even though he started teaching in 1973, Dr. Ficklin’s love of teaching began much younger and took him on another path .
“I’ve been teaching Bible classes since I was 13 years old. Mother Lillie Mae Powell had a group for young people who wanted to be leaders in the church. I love teaching and helping others, so going into the ministry was a natural step,” says Dr. Ficklin.
Dr. Ficklin tells us his love of serving others started young, and since 1978, Dr. Ficklin has been the Pastor at Mount Vernon Missionary Baptist Church on Pansy Avenue, where he preaches every Sunday.
“As a child, my mother was very service oriented. There would be times I’d come home, and my mom would have a stranger there eating dinner. Someone she’d just brought inside who needed a bite to eat. I picked up a lot of my love of other people from her, and in college they instilled in us that the way to happiness is not by serving yourself, but others.”
That’s the attitude and heart Dr. Ficklin brings to the county as the Executive Director of Community Affairs. He serves on dozens of advisory boards, panels, councils, and other organizations aimed at helping people learn, grow, and thrive in our community. He also fills in for the Mayor at events and speaking engagements, presents proclamations, fields calls from people in our community needing help, and runs the student leadership program, GCAPS (Georgia Civic Awareness Program for Students.)
Dr. Ficklin says he loves his job and working with the people who make our community amazing. Thank you for your hard work, and for being such a champion for #TeamMaconBibb!