Charles Steele, Jr. , 1946-

Charles Steele2.jpg


Charles Steele, Jr. , 1946-


Civic leaders


A civil rights leader, public servant, fervent advocate for justice and fairness, Steel was a visionary always pushing for “a new day and a new way,” Steele has made his mark on the very fabric of the Tuscaloosa County community, Alabama and the nation.

Charles Steele Jr. was born in Tuscaloosa on August 3, 1946. A graduate of Druid City High School, he received his bachelor’s degree from American International University at Paramaribo, Suriname. He also holds honorary degrees from Stillman College, Bozeman School of Ministry, and Global Evangelical College of Louisiana and American University.

For many years, Charles has been co-owner, with his brother Danny, of the Van-Hoose & Steele Funeral Home and also serves as president of the Steele Group consulting firm. Today, he serves as national president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Grounded in the early days of the civil rights movement in Tuscaloosa, Steele has passionately served as a public servant and elected leader in Tuscaloosa County since 1985. Following change to a mayor-council form of government, Steele was elected to the Tuscaloosa City Council, where he served two terms, and was one of the first of two African Americans to serve in that capacity. In 1994, Charles was elected to the Alabama State Senate, the first African American to serve in that capacity, and was subsequently elected to two additional terms.

Over the years as an elected public servant, Charles Steele has been relentless in efforts to improve economic opportunities, the quality of life and livability for his constituents. Using his constituency as a pulse to direct action and influence public policy, Charles Steele has maintained a common touch and sense of fairness.

His vision and efforts have been translated into progress and tangible economic development projects in West Alabama; - improved housing, including a first-time home buyer’s ownership program, one of the first in West Alabama; - increased support and funding for efforts to address drug issues, including the Bernice Washington Insight Center, partners for a drug free Tuscaloosa County, and Police Athletic League; - as well as active leadership in a host of community and service agencies and initiatives in West Alabama.

During his third term in the Alabama Senate, Charles was called on to serve as national vice president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In November, 2004, following his resignation from the Alabama State Senate, he was named president and CEO of SCLC, and began immediately to revitalize, redirect, and rebuild the organization.

Today, through Steele's passionate, innovative leadership, the SCLC is experiencing a rebirth and is expanding to a more global organization under his leadership. He is forging new multi-cultural partnerships.

A man of vision, vigor and passion, Charles Steele not only believes in fairness and justice for all people, he lives it. Perhaps controversial at times, Charles Steele has made a lasting impact on his community, his state, and now, his nation.

Steele was inducted into the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame in 2006.

Material from the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama was used in this description.

(Source - The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama)


Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama


Brenda Harris (Description)
Tuscaloosa Public Library






Tuscaloosa (AL)

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