Bettye Conyers Hardeman of Daytona Beach turned 100 earlier this month. Family and friends gathered on Aug. 18 at Coastal Health and Rehabilitation, where she resides, to help her celebrate.
Hardeman was born on Aug. 7. 1917 in Monroe, Georgia. She was the fourth child of seven to parents Boyd and Louella Conyers. She attended school in Monroe and Atlanta as well as Payne College in Augusta, Georgia.
She was known for her poetry, which she began memorizing at age 9. She also sung with her father’s band until her early teen years.
Like Rosa Parks
After marrying Beaureguarde Andrew Hardeman Jr. in 1940, they moved to Macon. Their three children, Blanche, Betsey and Andrew Jr., were born in Macon. Blanche died in 2013; Andrew Jr. passed away in 2015.
While in Macon and before Rosa Parks did, Hardeman refused to go to the back of a bus because she too was tired, according to her family. The police were called and took her to the police station.
She was let go with a warning. The family then moved back to Atlanta.
Busy work, church life
In 1951, the family moved to Daytona Beach where her husband was appointed manager of the Afro American Life Insurance Co. She has lived in her adopted hometown for more than 65 years.
Hardeman has been a member of the Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Daytona Beach for 63 years and participated in many areas of the church life.
Her work experience includes real estate agent, nursing assistant at Halifax Hospital for over 30 years, floral designer, property manager, school crossing guard, private duty nurse, and a poll worker during elections.
Special talents and interests have included sewing, reciting poetry, refinishing furniture, baking and public speaking.