Black History Month is a time of celebration and remembrance. Some of the most important transportation pioneers were Black, like Garrett Morgan, the inventor of the 3-signal traffic light. Frederick McKinley Jones patented a portable air conditioner used in refrigerated trucks. Merideth Gourdine designed the first catalytic converter, which helps reduce harmful exhaust emissions. In 2018, close to 20% of US truck drivers were Black, which represented the second-largest demographic in the industry.
At Uber Freight, we have the privilege of meeting and learning from these trailblazers. Black immigrants, veterans, and social advocates are becoming drivers, owner-operators, and fleet owners. The stories collected here represent a small slice of the modern face of trucking.
Charles Nwigwe emigrated from Nigeria to the United States, starting out as a company driver in the late ‘90s. He worked his way up from company driver to owner-operator, eventually building his own small fleet. He and his drivers now haul with Powerloop, a drop trailer pool affiliate of Uber Freight.
Sharae Moore got behind the wheel after 8 years as a certified nursing assistant. She needed a change and craved freedom. Ultimately, Sharae became much more than a truck driver. She’s also the founder of S.H.E. Trucking, an apparel line and mentorship organization.
Of the next generation of women in trucking, Sharae said, “You’ve got . . . women from different races, from different backgrounds. A lot of women paved the way for us . . . who had to go through different challenges and make it better. It’s just up to us to carry on and pick up where they left off.”
Rodney Childress has been driving trucks for over 25 years, but he’s been around them his whole life. His father and grandfather were both in the industry. Today, Rodney maintains the same passion for trucking he had when he started, “When you put a log on the fire, the flames go up. Every time I get in my truck and I start it up, I’m like that fire with a new log.”
Alix Burton has always wanted to be his own boss, starting his own party-promotion company right out of high school. He transitioned into the trucking business several years later. While he experienced some initial growing pains, he did not give up. He’s now a small fleet owner with 11+ trucks and a 15-person management team.
Nic and Carla Richelle
Nic and Carla Richelle are a team-driving, wife-and-wife duo who turned to trucking a few years ago. In addition to being full-time drivers, they’re also parents and video bloggers with a growing following. In a 2019 interview, Nic described what having a platform means to them, “I am very proud that Carla and I are showing people a different side of trucking, a lesbian relationship, 2 black women operating, and being OK with making it in America.”
After a short career in the music industry, Xavres Good decided to try his hand at trucking. He got his CDL, worked for a company, and eventually got his own truck and authority. Like many drivers, Xavres relishes his time being out on the road seeing different places.
For owner-operator Tiffany Hanna, truck driving is much more than a job—she found a community here after serving in the military. In this community, she has become a mentor to many, encouraging others to get into the industry she loves. “I come from the ground up,” she said. “My story is rags to big rigs, so if I can do it, you can do it as well.”
Veteran Sanford Hall has been a truck driver for over 25 years, most of which he spent solo on the road. His wife drives with him now, and he loves getting to share those experiences with her. Sanford also enjoys the freedom truck driving provides him, saying the best parts of being on the road are being his own boss, making his own schedule, and meeting new people.