Scottsboro Boys Civil Rights Museum
Scottsboro Boys Civil Rights Museum is a nonprofit Alabama Corporation operating under an agreement with The Community Foundation of Greater Decatur, Inc. ("The Foundation"). The Foundation is a nonprofit Alabama Corporation, exempt from taxation under Internal Revenue Code ("Code") section 501(c)(3) as a public charity described in section 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) of the code.
Board of Directors
Frances D. Tate – CEOTA Founder. Ms. Tate is a local artist who grew up in Decatur, Alabama and attended the local public schools. She is an alumnus of Tuskegee Institute. Frances earned a degree in psychology from Athens State College. A dedicated community leader and civic advocate, she worked in the telecommunications industry for over 35 years.
After retiring, Frances was approached to become an equipment auditor for independent telephone companies throughout the United States. During her assignments, she was enlightened on how various communities preserved and promoted their heritage and legacies. After leaving that job, she later pursued her passion for art, determined to revive her community's legacy in Old Town. Since many of the dwellings had fallen victim to Urban Renewal and neglect, she was inspired to revitalize Decatur, Alabama through her paintings, one structure at a time.
David Breland - has been the Director of Historic Resources and Events for the City of Decatur and Director of the Old State Bank since January 2013. Prior to this position, he served as District and Juvenile Court Judge for Morgan County, AL, for over 25 years and later worked for the Supreme
Court of Alabama as Director of the Alabama Juvenile Court Resources Initiative. He is the recipient of numerous humanitarian and public service lifetime achievement awards. A life-long resident of Decatur, he is married to Drama, and he has two children, Will and Mary Katherine.
Peggy Allen Towns - is a local historian of African American history. A native of Decatur, Alabama, her passion is preserving the voices and legacy of African Americans. She lectures and facilitates workshops on genealogy, local people, and historical places. She is dedicated to identifying historic places, and as a result of her efforts, several sites have been listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage and the National Register of Historic Places. Peggy has done extensive research documenting her family’s history, which led to the discovery of a relative who served with the 110th United States Colored Infantry and the writing of her first book, “Duty Driven: The Plight of North Alabama’s African Americans During the Civil War.” Her second book, “Scottsboro Unmasked - Decatur’s Story” is based on the Scottsboro Boys trials. It is the first of its genre’ to tell how these two landmark Supreme Court ruling cases impacted locals in Decatur, the site for all trials but the first.
Gerald G. Ginwright, CEP, RFC, CFEd - With over 30 years of experience in the field of financial services, Gerald is the founder and managing member of Mainstream Financial Group and President, and founder of “2 Know Money”, a national non-profit educational speaker’s bureau. Gerald conducts financial legacy and literacy workshops throughout the State of Alabama for groups including the Alabama Education Retirees Association (AERA) and the Alabama Department of Revenue (Sales and Use Tax Division) and the cities of Birmingham and Huntsville.
His financial savvy has earned him inclusion, as Alabama’s only featured advisor, in the nationally published “America’s Top Hometown Financial Advisors” book. As a financial planning consultant, Gerald assists individuals, families, and business owners in planning for financial success. Gerald has been a moderator with the Life Underwriting Training Council (LUTC) at Samford University.
In addition to being spotlighted in The Birmingham News, television, and radio, he has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fortune.com, and CNN iReport.com. Gerald is also a member of the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)- The Premier Association of Financial Professionals globally.
John Allison - was born and raised in Decatur, Alabama. He received his B.A. in history from Birmingham-Southern College and an M.A. in American History from the University of Maryland at College Park. In 2006 the Morgan County Commission hired John as County Archivist, a position he has held ever since. John is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a Watson Fellow, and a past President of the Society of Alabama Archivists. He has worked to index, catalog, and interpret the Archives’ vast collection of public and private documents, photographs, and artifacts. He is also a manager for the county’s more recent records. He has written several articles about Morgan County’s history, which have been published. John spends his days doing what he loves, assisting others in historical and genealogical research.
Danielle Gibson - is the President/CEO of Decatur Morgan County Tourism. She has been in her current role for almost four years. She graduated from Brewer High School in 2004 then attended The University of North Alabama, graduating in 2009, earning a Bachelor's in Business Administration degree. Before beginning in her current role, she worked as an insurance agent for five years and then moved into President of the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce for two years. She is a Decatur Morgan County Excellence in Leadership Graduate and a Rotarian.
She has been married to her husband Jesse since June 2006, and they have two boys, Noah, age 15, and Cohen, age 12. Both boys attend Hartselle City Schools. Morgan County has been their home for the last 16 years.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association. She also serves on the River Clay Fine Arts Festival Board of Directors and Celebrating Early Old Town with Art Board of Directors.
Dorothy B. Gordon - is well known in the community and surrounding area. Wherever she is needed, she’s always ready to lend a helping hand. With the assistance of Mrs. Susan Parker, she organized Leadership Decatur. She is a graduate of Lakeside High School, Calhoun Community College, and a member of the St. Stephen P. B. Church. Dorothy has a passion for singing. She has been an active member of many organizations. She is the mother of eight children, 19 grandchildren, and 32 great-grandchildren.
Philip Mann - Executive Director, External Affiars, Alabama Center for the Arts.
Joel McCarty - is the founding pastor of New Eden Church, a young church in Decatur, Alabama. Before starting New Eden Church in August of 2020, he served as an Associate Pastor for six years. Before that, he served in Secondary Education as a teacher and coach. Joel places a high priority on clear, passionate, and effective communication that brings about the transformation of individuals and societies. As an apprentice of Jesus, Joel's central and consistent message is the good news of the Kingdom of God and its implications for our lives.
Growing up, Joel was ignorant of much of the racial injustice and history that permeated our country. However, in the last ten years, his journey of following Jesus has led him to care deeply about his fellow humans from all walks of life. Through education and the patience of gracious friends, he has become passionate about truth-telling and justice initiatives, especially within his local community.
Joel has been married to his wife, Kristy, since March of 2011, and they have four children, KJ (age 9), Everleigh (age 6), Scarlett (age 5), and Madi Wren (age 3). As a family, they have set down roots in the city of Decatur and are happy to call it home. They love the city's diversity and place a high value on being friends with people from various cultures. They are involved in multiple community initiatives and hope to be a part of making Decatur a better place for all who live in the city.
Wylheme H. Ragland - retired United Methodist Clergy, benefactor, free-lance writer, and historian – devotes his major focus researching, consulting, and lecturing regarding middle–class North Alabama families of color from 1825 – 1950. He received The 2015 North Alabama Conference United Methodist Church Wheeler Archives and History Award in recognition and appreciation of outstanding work in preserving and recording Methodist History.
Our Mission, Vision and Values
Dylan Woodall - is originally from the small community of Calcis, located in Shelby County, Alabama, about 45 minutes southeast of Birmingham, Alabama. He accepted his call to preach the Gospel while he was 14 years old, and he recently celebrated a decade in the Gospel Ministry.
He graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree and studied Communication and Religion. He is currently attaining a Master of Divinity Degree with a concentration in Christian Education, after which he plans to pursue a Doctoral Degree with the Lord’s help. His first book “Faces in the Crowd Around The Cross” was released in the summer of 2021.
His central passions are Preaching and teaching God’s Word and learning and sharing our history. God has been and continues to be faithful. He has blessed the work of my hands in his vineyard. He serves as Senior Pastor at First Missionary Baptist Church, Decatur, where God is doing a great work with great people. “I am grateful to God for the people that he has placed in my life, namely my wife Kyra and my son CJ who provide me a great deal of support and inspiration.”
CEOTA stands for "Celebrating Early Old Town with Art." The mission of the Scottsboro Boys Civil Rights Museum is to preserve stories and structures of the "Old Town" neighborhood in Decatur, Alabama. The organization seeks to preserve, educate, inform, promote and share this heritage, which dates from the 1820s. Early Old Town was home to mayors, councilmen, physicians, and some of the oldest congregations in the city of Decatur, Alabama.
Unity and Legacy through a physical and virtual museum to illuminate the heritage of the "Old Town" Neighborhood of Decatur, Alabama, thereby advancing the cause of Civil Rights and a Fair Legal System.
Historical Appreciation, Art Appreciation, and Historic Preservation. Increased Equity and Justice. Education about and Improvement of Race Relations.