Black History Month - Fred & Coleta Byrd
02/07/2020

Fred and Coleta ByrdFred Charles Byrd was born on August 17, 1923, in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Phyllis Wheatley High School in San Antonio. He entered the United States Navy and served until 1945. Upon returning from the Navy, Fred worked for Pete Smith Motors. He started working for the Seguin Police Department part-time and eventually was employed full-time, ending with a lustrous 25-year career and ranking as a sergeant. Fred Byrd was the first African-American policeman in Seguin, fulfilling his dream. He also was the first African-American member of the Evening Lions Club.

 

Coleta Beatrice Wright Byrd was born on August 10, 1928, and is a native of Seguin. She attended and graduated from Ball High School in 1944 at the young age of 15. She then went to gain a post-secondary education from Samuel Huston College which is present-day Huston-Tillotson University located in Austin. She graduated in 1948 with a degree in Education and then began her teaching career in 1950 within the Seguin Independent School District.

 

Fred and Coleta Byrd met and married on July 24, 1948. They lived in San Antonio for a short time before relocating back to Seguin. They were active, life-long members of Wesley-Harper United Methodist Church. Mr. Byrd served on the finance committee and Mrs. Byrd held many offices in the church, including in the choir.

 

Both contributed to Seguin ISD through the school board and classroom. Fred was the first African-American to serve as a board member for Seguin ISD. He served two terms. Coleta had a 44-year teaching career with the district. She taught for 21 years at Ball High School in History, Physical Education, and Dance. Additionally, she coached basketball, tennis, track & field, cheerleading, and the pep squad. She also worked at A.J. Briesemeister Middle School for 12 years and headed the History department and was named Teacher of the Year. Coleta worked for Even Start and Teen Parent Programs for 11 years as well. After retiring, she stayed active by serving as a board member of the 4H Club, the Women’s Shelter, Guadalupe Valley Hospice, and the city's Mental Health Mental Retardation committee. She was also a member of the Retired Teachers Association, Delta Kappa Gamma, and the Pink Ladies of Guadalupe Valley Hospital. Coleta Byrd has been honored by the Zonta Club and the Republican Women’s Club.

 

The Byrd couple serves as one of many "firsts" in our community and Seguin ISD!