Changing Lives in Her Own Community, Meet Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews
Townsquare Media Tuscaloosa, 92.9 WTUG, Praise 93.3, 105.1 The Block, and the Tuscaloosa Thread are proud to present the 2022 Black History Makers of Alabama supported by Sealy Furniture Outlet, Twelve25 Sports Bar & Entertainment Venue, and Red Oak Credit Union.
The Yellowhammer State is filled with great African American leaders from the past, present, and future. We thank our West Alabama community partners, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, Delta Phi Lambda Chapter, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Eta Xi Omega Chapter for their continued support.
Sheryl Threadgill-Matthews is a Black History Maker of Alabama
"Black History is more than an account of African American achievements. Black History is the very essence of who people of African descent are. It embodies the greatness of a race who came to this country, against their wills; brought with them a strength, a genius, ingenuity, and creativity -contributing to the building of one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Black History is the suffering of enslaved people, but one of endurance. It is the fierce defiance of those who refused to adhere to the laws of Jim Crow; those who built schools and educated themselves and their children; those who built wealth for themselves; and those who have beat insurmountable odds; despite it all. Black History is a part of American History and of World History." -Sheryl Threadgill- Matthews
Matthews is a native of Camden in Wilcox County, Alabama. She is the daughter of Mildred-Locke Threadgill, who was a teacher and Reverend. Thomas Threadgill, who was a Presbyterian minister. Sheryl and her three brothers grew up in a family that advocated for educational, human, and civil rights. They were involved in both the voter and desegregation movements in Wilcox County.
In 1967 she was one of the eight students who integrated the all-white school system in Wilcox. As a teenager, she participated in marches and demonstrations to fight for the right to vote for African Americans.
Sheryl’s father is who inspired her to pursue a career in social work. After graduating from high school, she attended Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee, and received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, with a concentration in Social Work. Matthews was employed by the Wilcox County Department of Human Resources for 29 years, as a Social Worker, Quality Assurance Coordinator, and Resource Development. For nine of those years, she was on contract as a Community Development Coordinator, with a comprehensive Kellogg-funded project dedicated to community and infrastructure development. She retired from this position to devote additional time to work in the community; especially in the area of youth development. She also served as the Director of the Wilcox Area Chamber of Commerce following her retirement.
Matthews feels that her greatest accomplishment was the co-founding of Better Activities Make All-around Kids Inc., better known as BAMA Kids, Inc. Founded in 1993 in response to the killing of a nineteen-year-old African American male, Bama Kids, Inc. is a community based non-profit youth development organization. The purpose of this organization is to provide structured positive activities for their youth. Sheryl has served as its Executive Director since its inception. She has secured millions of dollars in funding to support this effort; choosing not to accept a salary; rather ensuring the funds go directly to programming for the youth. BAMA Kids, Inc. provides academic enhancement, life skills, mentoring, leadership, and cultural arts.
She spends her days serving as a tutor and mentor at a restored warehouse. Sheryl is creative in providing unheard-of opportunities and exposure for the youth in the program. Realizing that many children in Wilcox County are deprived of such due to poverty and isolation that surrounds them; Sheryl has dedicated her life to advocating for youth and families. BAMA Kids, Inc. has impacted the lives of thousands of youth who have become productive adult citizens.
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