Black History Month was created as a time to honor and celebrate the life and achievements of African-American men and women throughout history, as well as those in the present.
Whether an African-American icon from history, an unsung hero of the civil rights movement, or someone from your own family tree, every life – every achievement deserves to be honored and celebrated. “There are so many African-Americans who have been an inspiration to me such as Maya Angelou and Dr. Georgina Dwelle but the most inspirational of all is Charles (Chuck) Conley,” said Ingrid Johnson, HR generalist.
Charles Conley was an African-American professional who held many titles such as judge, lawyer, professor, educator and businessman, but according to Ingrid, the most important title he held was “uncle.”
“During his long career Uncle Chuck fought for civil rights cases and counseled leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy and Rosa Parks. He later became Alabama’s first elected black judge,” said Johnson.
He was an African-American lawyer in the south during the 50’s and 60’s, practicing law in the heart of the civil rights movement. It was a dangerous time for those who fought for equal rights, but Conley continued to take on cases fighting for innocent African-American men and women whom our laws did not protect. In a 2011 issue of NYU Law Magazine, in an article about Conley, it was quoted Charles Conley was a “radical threat to the status quo.”
Though remembered for his courageous acts during the civil rights movement, Conley is also remembered for something else just as important.
“I admire the strength and determination he had to fight battles along with some of the most influential and iconic people in African-American history,” said Johnson. “However, of all his many achievements the one I admire most was the love and devotion he had for his family. In the midst of the chaos and triumph in his career, his faith and family never came second to anything. He put faith and family above all else, and that is what I most admired about Uncle Chuck.”