BCRI Elects 11 to its Board

Special to The Times

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) has elected 11 new members to its Board of Directors for multi-year terms along with a new slate of officers for 2016-17.

The diverse group of board members, unanimously ratified by the Birmingham City Council, are:

  • Walter Body, Director of Marketing and Consumers, Central Region, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED;
  • Isaac Cooper, Founder-Managing Partner, IMC Financial Consulting, LLC;
  • Bing Edwards, Attorney, Balch and Bingham;
  • Michele Elrod, Executive Vice President, Head of Marketing, Regions Bank;
  • Rosilyn Houston, Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Talent and Culture Executive, USA, BBVA Compass;
  • Janice Kelsey, Educational Consultant and Birmingham Board of Education, Principal (retired) who was jailed in 1963 as a demonstrator in The Children’s March;
  • Danny Markstein, Founder-CEO, Markstein Consulting, LLC;
  • John Oros, Jr., President and CEO, Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau;
  • Jonathan Porter, Vice President,  Birmingham Division, Alabama Power Company;
  • Cameron Vowell, PhD, civic leader;
  • Thomas L. Wilder, Jr. Pastor, Bethel Baptist Church.

The newly-elected officers of the Board of Directors include Chairperson Doug Jones, attorney with Jones & Hawley, PC, who as the United States Attorney for Alabama’s Northern District, led the prosecution team in the re-opened case of the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church.

Jones successfully prosecuted two former Ku Klux Klan members for the murder of four young girls in the blast – one of the deadliest crimes of the civil rights era. Other elected Board officers are:

  • Immediate Past Chair Bobbie J. Knight, Vice President and Senior Advisor to the CEO of Alabama Power Corporation (retired);
  • Chair-Elect George Davis, VP Business Banking Manager Wells Fargo;
  • First Vice Chair, Mike Oatridge, Vice President, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama LLC;
  • Treasurer Kenneth Perry, attorney, Bradley-Arant Boult Cumming, LLP;
  • Secretary Martha Emmett, Director of Stategic Programs, BancorpSouth Insurance Services, Lajuana Bradford, Director of Employee Benefits and Marketing Services, Regions Bank, and Sara Hamlin, Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau, are rotating off the Board.

“The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is fortunate to have such high caliber leaders who understand our mission and share a strong commitment to this organization and to the community,” noted Andrea L. Taylor, BCRI President and CEO. “Their collective expertise and enthusiasm will be a driving force for us as we prepare for our 25th year anniversary in 2017 and the proposed National Park designation.”