The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History and Reconciliation Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
The mission of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History & Reconciliation Foundation is to preserve local civil rights cultural material, physical sites, and personal stories; to foster civil and human rights reconciliation efforts in Tuscaloosa; to provide educational opportunities for all ages; and to enhance tourism outreach in Tuscaloosa. Through our efforts, local, national, and international citizens will be informed about Tuscaloosa’s civil rights history, inspiring positive social change in our own community and beyond. (Revised by Board action May 26, 2022)
By valuing every voice in our community, the Foundation strives to implement honest historical inquiry as the principle means of understanding our past, informing our present, and imagining our future. Together with the City of Tuscaloosa, the Foundation will create a civil rights history museum and an education center to house collected materials and to offer interactive experiences, learning opportunities, reconciliation programs, and research opportunities. We seek to add Tuscaloosa experiences to the US national civil rights story.
Foundation Board Members
Co-President: Scott Bridges
Secretary: Christina Frantom
Treasurer: Samyra Snoddy
Board Member Bios
Dr. Scott Bridges, Co-President
Musician, academic and social entrepreneur, I value the great American promise of a functioning democratic, pluralistic society. My mother was an immigrant. Scottish. I was raised with the admonition “get an education” recited to me daily. My father was an itinerant intellectual, butcher, salesman and skeptic of all things governmental. They produced values of fearful curiosity and independent behavior that gives me energy and courage most days. Educator Mary Jolley and I were co-collaborators in the formation of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History Task Force. Our relationship began 29 years ago on our first project: “Realizing the Dream,” a now annual tribute to the life work of Dr. King in collaboration with the University of Alabama, Stillman College, and Shelton State Community College. James Earl Jones, Della Reese, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, William Warfield, Vivian Malone Jones, and Maya Angelou were our guests during those first years.
Tim Lewis, Co-President
A great connector of potential, resources and technology, Tim Lewis’ storied career began in 1987. Originally the only employee of the appropriately named T.A. Lewis and Associates, today “the really good engineer who can talk” is now President and CEO of TALA Professional Services, an international technology and business management firm with a global clientele. TALA’s notable client roster includes Honda, Mercedes-Benz USA International, IBM Global Services, Rosser international (USA Army base — Italy) and The Telecommunications & Technology Services Consortium (representing Bose, Paul, the Gillette Company, Waters, Polaroid and St. Gobain) among many others. An outspoken proponent of technomics (the power of technology to drive economic prosperity), Tim conceived and leads the Connected Community Program, currently improving cities across the United States. Connected Communities have potential to positively and profoundly impact entire communities. Tim’s combination of capitalistic and altruistic values has made him a much sought after speaker, trainer and advisor in a variety of sectors. Distinguished honors he has received include the Blue-Chip Enterprise Initiative Award, Small Business Person of the Year, Minority Business Leadership Award and serving as a delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business. Additionally, Tim currently serves on the boards of Junior Achievement, Salvation Army, UAB Health System, UA Health Services Foundation, Birmingham Business Alliance, Tech Birmingham, and Lawson State Community College Foundation.
Christina Frantom, Secretary
With more than 20 years’ experience in digital media, design, development, strategy, and tribe building, Christina Frantom brings proven knowledge of creative strategy, communication planning, and client management to academic, corporate, and municipal organizations. Christina currently serves as the Head of Marketing for Fledging, a tech startup specializing in consumer electronics with a focus on storage, data transfer, and power delivery. Before joining Fledging, Christina served as the Director of Marketing & Communications for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) where she was responsible for strategic communications planning, development and implementation of integrated marketing plans and public affairs/public relations activities dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of reproductive medicine. Before joining ASRM, Christina served as the Marketing and Communications Director for the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex where she supported the BJCC’s sports and entertainment mission. Prior to her time at the BJCC, Christina spent ten years at The University of Alabama in several roles including Marketing & Communications Manager for the Faculty Resource Center, Director of Public Relations for the IT department, and the Director of the Office of Multimedia Services, the University’s in-house advertising agency. Before relocating to Alabama in 2009, Christina worked as the Communications Deputy for the Westchester County District Attorney in White Plains, New York. Christina holds a MS in Consumer Quality Management from The University of Alabama and a BA in Philosophy from Texas A&M University. She lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with her kiddo and a ton of rad pets.
Samyra Snoddy, Treasurer
Samyra Snoddy graduated from the University of Alabama with a BS in Corporate Finance Investment Management and Human Resource Management. She received her MS in Management from the University of Phoenix. Samyra is a Senior Revenue Officer and is employed with the City of Tuscaloosa in the Accounting and Finance Department, Revenue Division.
A native of Tuscaloosa, Samyra has a passion for servicing her community. She has served on numerous civic and community organizations, including Temporary Emergency Service, and United Way of West Alabama. She currently serves as chairperson for Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission and is a member of The Tuscaloosa Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and Tuscaloosa County Chapter of NAACP.
Samyra is the founder and President of West Alabama Multicultural Alliance Inc. (WAMA). An organization, which focuses on educating people on the importance of diversity through heritages. She chairs the Tuscaloosa Heritage Festival-WAMA Fest, an event that highlights diverse cultural heritage of people of color through ethnic cuisines, film, dance, and music.
Dr. Bill Bomar has worked in a wide variety of museums for over 30 years and has extensive experience in exhibit planning, fundraising, educational program development, and museum administration. He was the Director of The University of Alabama’s Moundville Archaeological Park for sixteen years and is currently the Executive Director of the University of Alabama Museums, a museum system consisting of five public museums, the Emmy award-winning public television series Discovering Alabama, UA’s Office of Archaeological Research, and the Department of Museum Research and Collections. He has also worked in museums of natural history and history, and heritage sites including a historic house museum, Civil War fort, and 1850s historic railroad complex. Bomar is a past president of the Alabama Museums Association and board member for the Southeastern Museums Conference. He is the current Alabama state representative to the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries and is on the Editorial Board for the American Association for State and Local History Book Series. His research has focused on graduate museum studies curricula in the United States as well as the professional personnel needs of 21st-century museums. He holds a B.A. in History and Anthropology and M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Georgia Southern University, an M.A. in Museum Studies from The University of Nebraska, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from The University of Alabama. Bomar has taught an annual course in Museum Administration at The University of Alabama since 2009 and now directs the Graduate Certificate Program in Museum Studies.
Bomar has a deep appreciation for local history, and its importance for building a strong sense of community. He was drawn to the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History and Reconciliation Foundation upon becoming familiar with Tuscaloosa’s rich civil rights history, especially the inspirational stories of the heroic foot soldiers involved in Bloody Tuesday.
Dr. John Giggie is Associate Professor of History and African American Studies and Director of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South at the University of Alabama. He is Co-Creator of “History of Us,” the first Black history class taught daily in a public school in Alabama; Director of “Alabama Memory,” an effort that seeks to recapture and memorialize the over 400 lives lost to lynching in Alabama; and Director of “Queer History South,” on oral history program documenting the lives of LGBTQ+ citizens in West Alabama, and a founding member of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History and Reconciliation Foundation. He has been a commentator on matters of southern and Black history for National Public Radio, Alabama Public Radio, CNN, C-Span, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Smithsonian Magazine, BET.com, ReckonSouth, The Birmingham Watch and local presses and television outlets.
As a teacher at the University of Alabama, Prof. Giggie specializes in southern and Civil Rights history. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Fellow in Teaching by the College of Arts and Sciences and awarded the Outstanding Faculty-Initiated Engagement Effort by the Center for Community-Based Partnerships. At the University of Texas at San Antonio, Prof. Giggie was awarded the Presidential Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching and the Honors Alliance Award for Outstanding Teaching.
As a scholar, Dr. Giggie has authored or edited five books and is currently completing a manuscript on civil rights protest in Tuscaloosa. He coedits the Religion and American Culture series for the University of Alabama Press, sits on the Commission on Local Government Records and the Commission of State Government Records with the Alabama Department of Archives and History, and previously served of the Executive Council of the American Society of Church Historians. His research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Louisville Center for the Study of American Religion, the Lilly Foundation, the Pew Foundation, the Center for the Study of American Religion at Princeton University, and the American Historical Association.
Rebecca Todd Minder
Rebecca Todd Minder is the Director for the award-winning Alabama Heritage magazine, Alabama’s only history trade publication that is co-published by The University of Alabama, UAB, and the Alabama Department of Archives and History. Rebecca earned a Master of Arts degree in American studies with a focus on Southern popular culture and her Bachelor of Arts in public relations, both from The University of Alabama. Before joining Alabama Heritage, Rebecca was the publicist for The University of Alabama Press, and a managing editor at Randall-Reilly Publishing for two of its construction industry magazines. In between, Rebecca found time to be an English/Language Arts teacher for middle school at Holy Spirit Catholic Regional School.
At both UA Press and Alabama Heritage, Rebecca has and continues to work with some of the country’s most distinguished and impactful authors, specializing in civil rights, Alabama history, and social justice such as Frye Gaillard, Wayne Flynt, Guy Hubbs, Rick Bragg, Lila Weaver, BJ Hollars, and Ben Windham. She helped coordinate and facilitated a civil rights bus tour, which encompassed four Alabama cities over three days. Rebecca also worked with Rev. Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Rev. Martin and Coretta Scott King, on a book tour for Desert Rose, a book about Coretta and written by her sister, Edith Bagley.
Rebecca serves as a board member for the Alabama Historical Association, is a member organization for the Arts & Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa, is the immediate past president of the Public Relations Council of West Alabama, and is a member of the Southern Public Relations Federation. She is also a freelance publicist and volunteers much of her time with her church’s food pantry, along with other organizations and nonprofits in the West Alabama area.
Rebecca and her husband, Gary, are charter members of the newly formed social-justice-minded Grace Presbyterian Church. Rebecca and Gary reside in Tuscaloosa, where they both are proud graduates of Central High School’s Class of 1984, which was one of the first classes to graduate from the new school that was formed because of federal-ordered desegregation. They are the parents of five children, an 85-pound overly lovable chocolate lab, and moody-but-sweet beagle.
Charles R. Nash
Dr. Charles R. Nash served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for The University of Alabama System from 1992 to 2020. As the senior academic officer in the System, he was the chief liaison to academic, institutional research, and planning officials at The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and The University of Alabama in Huntsville. He advised the Chancellor on academic policy matters and provided primary leadership in program planning, development, and review. Additionally, he was the liaison officer for the UA System to the Alabama Department of Education, the Alabama Community College System, and the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. In 2009, his duties were expanded to include Student Affairs functions for The University of Alabama System.
Dr. Nash holds a bachelor’s degree from Jackson (Mississippi) State University, a master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a doctoral degree from Mississippi State University; and has studied at Southeastern Louisiana (graduate study), Stanford University (distance learning), Harvard University (Institute for Education Management), and the Oxford Roundtable (International Education).
Prior to assuming the Vice Chancellor position, Dr. Nash served as Associate Executive Director for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. He has also held the position of Dean of the School of Education at Armstrong Atlantic State University (Georgia) and Director of Special Studies and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Development for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. He began his career teaching junior high school science and served as a high school assistant principal and as an elementary school principal.
Dr. Nash completed a six-year term on the executive committee of the board of directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and served on the executive committee of the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions (NASSMC). He served on the Alabama Articulation and General Studies Committee. He serves on the Access to Justice Commission of the Alabama Supreme Court, the governing board of the A+ Education Partnership of Alabama, the New York Academy of Sciences/SUNY STEM Advisory Committee, the Alabama Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Engineering Coalition for Education as Board Chairman, and the Alabama STEM Council. Charles also serves on the Boards of the Alabama Department of Human Resources the Alabama Department of Child Neglect and Abuse Prevention, VOICES for Alabama’s Children and chairs Tuscaloosa’s Promise-the Alliance for Youth.
For the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar, he has served on the Accreditation Committee (AC), the Council, the AC’s Foreign Programs subcommittee, the Non-JD subcommittee, and the Standards Committee.
In 2009, Dr. Nash was inducted into the Burglund/McComb (Mississippi) High School Hall of Fame and was chosen as Citizen of the Year in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. In 2010, he was named a Pillar of the Community of West Alabama. He was presented the first Friend of the Alabama Mathematics, Science, and Technology Initiative Award by the Alabama Department of Education and the NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award. In September 2013, Nash was inducted into the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame. Charles was awarded the Louis Dale Diversity Leadership Award by the Alabama Association of Higher Education Diversity Officers. He was a member of classes of Leadership Savannah, GA, Leadership Georgia, Leadership Tuscaloosa, AL, and Leadership Alabama.
Charles has also served as the President of the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa, the Chairman of the United Way of West Alabama, the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, Vice President and Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee of the Black Warrior Council of Boys Scouts of America, Chairman of the NASULGC/APLU Chief Academic Officers Council, Chairman of the Alabama Council of University Chief Academic Officers, and Chairman of the National Council of University System Chief Academic Officers.
Charles and Hattie Wells Nash live in Tuscaloosa. Daughter, Kimberly Nash White, Ed.D. and son, Charles R. Nash, Jr., Master of Engineering, live in Hoover, AL, with their families.
Jasmine Rainey is a Tuscaloosa native with roots established from the west end. After graduating from Central High School, Jasmine attended Alabama A&M University where she studied biology. In 2009, Jasmine returned to Tuscaloosa and began working at an independently owned & operated hotel. This is where Jasmine realized that her desire to work in a career field that helped people was impactful on many levels.
She transitioned from guest services to sales management and built her career portfolio in the hospitality industry. In January 2017, she received a call about a job opportunity at Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports, the destination marketing organization for Tuscaloosa County. Although she was planted at her hotel at the time, it was an opportunity that she simply could not refuse. Jasmine began serving as Associate Director of Visitor Services and Tourism Development in April 2017. In 2018, she was promoted to Director of Tourism. In her role, she serves as a community asset by targeting and attracting tourism events to our area. She also advocates for the hospitality and tourism industry in Tuscaloosa county.
She is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Tuscaloosa. Also in 2018, she was named one of Tuscaloosa’s 40 under 40 business leaders. In 2019, the Alabama Tourism Department recognized her as a Tourism Rising Star. In 2021, she was the recipient of a West Alabama Young Leaders award. Jasmine has a passion for the business community. Serving on the Board of Directors for the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce has allowed her to feel like she is making a difference both locally and regionally. She also has a passion for giving back to the community by serving on the Board of Directors for Family Counseling Service, and the Young Leaders Society for United Way of West Alabama.
She is a proud single mother to two sons, Elijah and Carter. Just as her mother taught her, she teaches her sons the importance of helping and serving others. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, dance, cooking, and cheering for the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Danny R. Steele was born in 1949 to the late Charlie and Eleanor Steele in Tuscaloosa, AL. He is a 1967 graduate of the mighty Druid Dragons of Druid High School. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Mississippi Valley State College in Itta Bena, MS, in 1971. In 1972 he graduated from the National Executive Institute in Mendham, NJ, and in 1984 graduated from Jefferson State Community College of Birmingham, AL, where he earned an Associate Degree in Funeral Service Education. He presently holds the title of National License Funeral Director and Embalmer and is a former Eye Enucleation Technician of the Alabama Eye Bank. He is currently a member of Bailey Tabernacle C.M.E. Church in Tuscaloosa, AL, where he serves as the Adult Sunday School Superintendent and the worship service greeter.
Mr. Steele is a former District Executive of the Detroit Area Council Boy Scouts of America in Detroit, MI, where he lived for eight years and a former board member of the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, AL. He was appointed to the Alabama Board of Funeral Services by former Governor Jim Folsom and reappointed by former Governor Fob James. He is the co-owner of Van Hoose and Steele Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., the oldest funeral home and the oldest African American business in Tuscaloosa, AL. He served as a former chairman of Maude L. Whatley Health Center and is currently Chairman of McDonald Hughes Community Center and a member of the Downtown Redevelopment Committee of Tuscaloosa.
He is a foot soldier and participant in the Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa, including Bloody Tuesday, June 9, 1964. Mr. Steele hosts a 30-minute radio program on five gospel stations every Sunday morning where he touches the lives of listening audiences with gospel music, funeral announcements, pre-need information, Black Biblical Heritage and community Church announcements. He was the Chairman of Alabama Mississippi Blues Production/Festival; Chairman of Knight Sound Production; Chairman of Steele/Range Group. He is a member of AFDMA (Alabama Funeral Directors & Mortician Association, Inc.), NFDMA (National Funeral Directors & Mortician Association, Inc.) and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
Mr. Steele and his lovely wife Regina are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters: Danielle Steele Williams (Keith) in Tuscaloosa, AL, and Stephanie Steele-Wheeler (Rodney) in East Point, GA. They have three precious grandchildren: Kennadi Elise, Kendall Mekhi and Ty Logan. For relaxation he enjoys spending time with his grandchildren; watching sports; and listening to music. He also has a love for training dogs.
Dr. Thaddeus Steele is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He completed his primary and secondary education in the Tuscaloosa County School System, and the University of Alabama College Preparatory School of Music, with concentrations in Organ Performance, Piano Performance, and Music Theory. Steele furthered his education by attending the University of Alabama’s School of Business, where he received a B. S. Degree in Business Administration, with a major in Hospital Administration. He continued his studies at Howard University where he received A Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Computer Information System, a Master of Business Administration with a major in Health Care Administration, a Master of Divinity with a major in New Testament Literature, and completed the course for the Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Organizational Communications with a minor in Classical Organ Performance. He has published works in the research areas of Computer Information Technology and its impact on the Organizational Structure, and Computer Technology and its implications on Organizational Development.
He was employed by IBM for many years as a Computer Scientist and Marketing Executive for the Federal Systems Division. While in IBM, as a lead system developer, Steele became quite known throughout the country for his pioneering work in the area of document automation, and database management protocols. In addition to his work in Computer System development, he has worked for many years as a Computer Information Systems Project Manager, wherein, he was responsible for the complete overhaul of the Health Information Business Applications System at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC. He is also a noted entrepreneur, having founded the non-profit organization, Power Place, Incorporation. This organization gained notoriety throughout the country for being among the first to successfully apply clinical and faith-based treatment paradigm for the mental ill and for substance abusers. Power Place was an empowerment organization that also provided residential treatment to the mental ill, A refugee relief services to refugees of color that came to this country, a Basic Education Literary Program and an Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Division. Many African Americans are now small business owners in the metropolitan area of Washington, DC because of the work of this organization.
As a prolific educator, Steele has taught as an Assistant Professor and adjunct professor of Accounting, Marketing, Management, Finance, Statistics and Hospital Administration in the following universities and colleges: The University of Alabama, Howard University, Alabama A&M University, The University of The District of Columbia, Bowie State University, Westwood College and Stillman College. He is also noted for his work in the authorship of much of the materials for the Business School IACB accreditation reaffirmation at Stillman College and served as Chairperson of the SAC accreditation Quality Enhancement Plan for Stillman College. Most recently, he co-authored a proposal to the Lilly Endowment for a $1 million grant that was awarded to Stillman College.
In addition to his work in the corporate and academic world, Rev. Steele is also an ordained Minister in the A.M.E. Zion Church. He is the founder Antioch A.M.E. Church, the first A.M.E. Zion Church to be successfully established in Huntsville, Alabama. He is also the founder of Ecclesia Fellowship of Washington, D.C. In the A.M.E. Zion denomination he has served as the International Denominational Director of Commission on Youth Ministry. He was instrumental in founding the denominational department of Young Adults in Christian Ministry, the young adult division of Christian Education, and he is a former president of the Nation Christian Youth Ministry of the A.M.E. Zion Denomination. In the ecumenical arena, he has served in the National Council of Churches, and the World Council of Churches. He is also the first Black President of the North American Coalition for Global Justice, a peace and justice organization that has sought to challenge injustices throughout the world. He is particularly known for his peace and justice activity and in the advancement of liberation theology in many cities throughout Canada, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. Currently, he serves as the Senior Pastor of Hunter Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church of Tuscaloosa, the oldest African American Church in the city of Tuscaloosa. In his role as Senior Pastor, he has successfully led the church in a major renovation and overhaul of this iconic historic site. He also authored in 2020 a proposal to the Lilly Endowment for a $1 million grant that was awarded to the Alabama Florida Episcopal Area of the A.M.E. Zion Church. Steele was also responsible for Stillman College being awarded a $1 million grant under the Lilly Endowment Thriving Congregation Initiative.
Rev. Steele is an accomplished classically trained Pipe Organist. Currently, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of Lomax Hanon Jr College, in Greenville, Alabama and Director of Development, Marketing and Research of the Alabama Florida Episcopal District. He is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., a Benjamin E Mays Fellow, a member of the board of Directors for the Solid Waste Board for Tuscaloosa County, a member of the Board of Directors of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Historical Foundation, A member of the Board of Director of Community Works Tuscaloosa, and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society for Business Professionals. He is the father of a lovely daughter, Ebony Steele, and he has two granddaughters, Destiny and Dominique.
Dr. G. Christine Taylor is the vice president and associate provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion for by The University of Alabama. Taylor has more than 30 years of higher education experience and a successful career in diversity and inclusion. Taylor previously served as vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer for nearly six years at Purdue University, where she led and provided strategic direction for the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. During that time, she implemented more than 35 programs to support increasing enrollment, retention and recruitment of underrepresented minority students, faculty, and staff. She also provided critical leadership in the development of a more inclusive campus environment with an emphasis on the development of cultural competencies for all faculty, staff, and students. Before working at Purdue University, Taylor served as the associate vice president for institutional diversity at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In 2004, she joined Ohio University as the interim assistant to the president for diversity and was promoted to assistant to the president in 2005.
Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Middle Tennessee State University in 1979. She earned her master’s degree and doctorate from Ohio University in 1989 and 1997, respectively.
Harrison Taylor was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and is married to Verdelle H. Taylor. They have two sons, one daughter, and three grandchildren. Taylor was educated in the public school system, graduating from Druid High School and Shelton State Community College (C. A. Fredd Campus). He was employed by the United States Postal Service as a Letter Carrier for nearly 30 years. Taylor also served six consecutive terms as City Councilman, District 2 from 1993 until 2017. Taylor served as President Pro Tempore for three terms.
Past and present services are as follows: Member of Alabama Democratic Conference, NAACP, and Executive Board of CHOM (Children’s Hands On Museum), Deacon of Bethel Baptist Church, Chairman Board of Directors – People Fighting Hunger, Past Vice-President of Central West PTSA, and Past Parent Advisor Boy Scouts of America, U. S. Army Veteran and served as non-commissioned training officer – 617 Military Police Unit, Tuscaloosa, AL.
Kenneth Walker is the Executive Director for the Alabama Asset Building Coalition (AABC). Under Walker’s leadership the viable organization has achieved consideration attention for its work in promoting wealth-building, financial education, research and advocacy work across Alabama on behalf of low-moderate communities.
Mr. Walker’s background includes thirty years of developing and administering community, economic development programs, technical and managerial support to state governments and business activities across the South. He has managed business development programs for the US Small Business Administration, Department of Transportation, IRS, Federal Highway Administration and the US Department of Agriculture and other government and private sector programs. He has received several awards for his work throughout the South for developing and implementing economic and workforce development programs and strategic plans to help communities overcome obstacles impeding economic growth.
In additional to certifications in the areas such as economic development, workforce development, education administration and homeownership, he is a graduate of Alabama State University with a B.S. in Public Relations and a Masters of Human Resource Management from Troy University.
Willie Mae Ike Wells
I was born into a segregated society in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in the early 1940s. I attended a segregated elementary and high school. Upon graduating from Druid High School, I received a scholarship to attend Stillman College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Business Education and a minor in English.
In 1964, while still enrolled at Stillman, I answered a clarion call to join forces for the GREATER CAUSE of FREEDOM, JUSTICE and EQUALITY for all, and became an active participant as a FOOT SOLDIER in a Non-Violent Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa. On June 9, 1964 known as “Bloody Tuesday”, I along with my brother and others were arrested for participating in an “unlawful”march to integrate the newly constructed Tuscaloosa County Courthouse.
For one year following “Bloody Tuesday,” I served as secretary to the Rev. Dr. T. Y. Rogers, Jr., pastor of First African Baptist Church and leader of the Tuscaloosa Citizens for Action Committee. I was a member of the Freedom’s Choir. I participated on a number of Civil Rights panels and was a member of a team that made an oral history recording of our experiences in the Civil Rights Movement in Tuscaloosa and archived in the Library of New College at the University of Alabama. I have spoken to elementary, high school and college students, church groups and organizations; served as a member of the Bloody Tuesday Commemoration Committee; member of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History Task Force; member of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History and Reconciliation Foundation Board; and a Civil Rights Trail tour guide. I am published in the Future Emerges from The Past, celebrating 200 years of Alabama African American History & Culture, endorsed by the Bicentennial Commissioned, Alabama African-American Heritage Committee.
I am actively involved with the Tuscaloosa local and National Alumni Association of Stillman College, and have served as President of both. I was a recipient of the coveted Outstanding Alumni Award from the National Association of Equal Opportunity (NAFEO). I was employed at Stillman College in a number of positions from 1966-2020.
I am a proud mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and above all, a child of God. I thank God for the many miles I walked, the time spent in jail, and the sacrifice of time and service to a cause that was greater than me.
Tom Wilson is retired Associate Dean for Information Technology at the University of Alabama Libraries. He guided the experimentation, development, implementation, maintenance, and retirement of various technologies. In 2010, Tom founded the Alabama Digital Humanities Center, a unit in the University Libraries that supports and enhances humanistic scholarship through technology experimentation, training, and hosting and facilitates research and pedagogy methods and project management. In 2012, he received a Distinguished Service Award from the Alabama Library Association for significant work on the Alabama Digital Preservation Network. Over his 15 years at the University of Alabama, Tom oversaw many library operations in his administrative profile. He has more than 35 years of experience with managing information technology in libraries and higher education. Tom is a past president of the Library and Information Technology Association, a division of the American Library Association. As a trained facilitator, he enjoys building communities and solutions.
The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History and Reconciliation Foundation stands in solidarity with the tens of thousands of non-violent protestors opposing the senseless killing of unarmed black citizens. The most recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd are the latest in a long and painful history of racial violence and compel us to examine the core values of American democracy.
Dedicated to preserving the history of racial justice and promoting racial reconciliation across West Alabama, The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History and Reconciliation Foundation affirms progressive action that will bring down the walls of systemic and systematic racism. It stands against injustice of any form against any person. And it seeks to build a nation in which economic opportunity among and between citizens is a reality.
[Law Enforcement] The Foundation is in support of working with local governments and stakeholders to create a citizens’ advisory committee to improve community policing and root out both systemic and systematic racism in law enforcement across West Alabama.
[Community] The Foundation seeks to work with elected officials to achieve greater diversity and equitable representation in all areas of government.