BHMPanelist2023 1WEBBack L to R: Chrystal Rutledge, Alana Nichols, Casi Ferguson, Marjada Tucker, and Thomas Wilder and Tamera Coyne-Beasley. Front L to R: Marissa Ladinsky, Samantha Hill, Janice Kelsey and Brian Sims. In celebration of Black History Month and to commemorate the 60 years since the 1963 Birmingham civil rights campaign, the Department of Pediatrics hosted a panel discussion with members of the Birmingham African American community.

The event was held on Thursday, March 2 at the Negro Southern League Museum. Attendees were able to tour the museum prior to the panel discussion.

The panel discussed a wide range of topics from the Civil Rights Movement to how to empower young people to become involved and live up to their full potential.

Panelists included:

Ms. Casi Ferguson

Area Director of the United Negro College Fund, her father – Mr. Oliver Son Ferguson, was a former Black Barons baseball player.

Samantha Hill, M.D., MPH

Assistant Professor in the Division of Division of Adolescent Medicine, Medical Director of UAB Family Clinic and Ryan White Services, and Co-Founder of MCH H.O.P.E.S.

Mrs. Janice Kelsey

Member of the Alabama Children’s Crusade, Foot Soldier, author, educator, and international speaker

Alana Nichols, M.D., J.D., MPH

Lawyer, UAB Med-Peds Resident, and Director of DEI Committee for the National Med-Peds Resident Association.

Marjada Tucker, M.D.

Entrepreneur and UAB Med-Peds Resident.

Pastor Thomas L. Wilder, Jr.

Pastor of the Bethel Baptist Church of Collegeville and the Historic Bethel Baptist Church

Tamera Coyne-Beasley, M.D., MPH, professor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine, was the moderator for the event.

Ms. Ferguson discussed her father’s involvement in the Negro Southern League and his involvement in the Negro Southern League Museum being established and built. She also discussed his participation in the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham and Alabama and the part that sports played in the movement.

Mrs. Kelsey shared about her experience as a participant in the Children’s Crusade during the Civil Rights Movement. She discussed the importance of youth participation in the movement.

Pastor Wilder discussed the role of the church in the lives of African Americans and how crucial it was during the Civil Rights Movement. He also discussed the importance of the Historic Bethel Baptist Church in the Black community today.

Drs. Hill, Nichols and Tucker talked about their involvement in current programs and outreach that impact the Birmingham Black community.                                                           

The discussion concluded with each member giving the attendees a call to action to help empower the Black community, especially young people.

The event was organized by faculty on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council including Brian Sims, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Division of Neonatology, Morrisa Ladinsky, M.D., professor in the Division of Academic General Pediatrics, Chrystal Rutledge, M.D., associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care, and Dr. Coyne-Beasley.