Board & Staff

Joshua Burford

Joshua Burford

Co-Founder & Director of Outreach & Lead Archivist

Joshua Burford is an award-winning historian, archivist, and educator with over 20 years of experience creating stronger communities for Queer and Transgender people across the U.S. He is perhaps best known for his work to preserve and make accessible the Queer history of the American South through the development of archival collections and oral histories. Josh is a nationally recognized educator and trainer who has worked with K-12 schools, colleges and universities, corporations, and non-profits to bring greater knowledge about the ways each can be more inclusive of diverse identities, engage in self-evaluation about best practices, and can create pathways for increased retention of minority individuals.

Josh is a native of Alabama who grew up in Anniston. He attended The University of Alabama for his undergraduate degrees in English and History. Josh finished his Master’s degrees in 2006 with an MA in American Studies (with a concentration in LGBT history of the late 20th century) as well a Masters in Library and Information Studies. His specialties include working with communities of color, diversity education, student development, and the creation of archives for the preservation of community history. A historian and archivist by training, Josh is passionate about education and advocacy for Queer Youth and the preservation and documentation of Southern Queer History. 

In 2013 Josh began a project to document the Queer and Trans history of Charlotte North Carolina. This project has created new pathways to understand the complex and invisible history of Queer and Trans communities in the American South and has allowed Josh the opportunity to take the history of Charlotte into museums, boardrooms, schools, and virtual spaces all over the world. Josh is committed to the work of creating more affirming spaces for underrepresented groups in all walks of life and continues to advocate for those without a voice whenever he can.

Maigen Sullivan, PhD

Maigen Sullivan, PhD

Co-Founder & Director of Research & Development

Maigen Sullivan has over 10 years of experience in community outreach, grant management, organizational development, and social justice education. Maigen earned her BA in History and her MA in Women’s Studies from The University of Alabama (UA). She earned her Doctorate in Educational Studies of Diverse Populations from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Maigen’s Masters Thesis won the Stephen Karatheodoris Memorial Award for Theoretical Writing in 2011, The Department of Gender & Race Studies Nominee for Outstanding Thesis in 2011, and The University of Alabama College of Arts & Sciences Runner-Up for Outstanding Thesis in 2011. Maigen was named a 2020 National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME) Emerging Scholar. She was recognized by the Society of American Archivists Innovator of the Year award in 2020 and the Marvin Yeoman Whiting Award given by the Society of Alabama Archivists in 2021.

Maigen was the founding organizer of Ladyfest Deep South a three day festival celebrating music, film, craft and food from women and Queer folks hosted in Tuscaloosa, AL and has been involved in a number of professional and volunteer organizations concerning Queer and women’s issues. She has worked for a number of nonprofits and higher education departments. Currently, she is adjunct faculty for Women’s & Gender Studies at UAB and provides consultation and training to universities, companies, and organizations on topics like implicit bias, cultural humility, and LGBTQ inclusion.

Dawn Betts-Green, PhD

Dawn Betts-Green, PhD

Assistant Director

Dawn Betts-Green, originally from Sylacauga, AL, is a radical librarian with a deep love for southern queer history. A member of the 2016 cohort of Point Foundation LGBTQ Scholars, she earned bachelor’s degrees in Women’s Studies, Religion, and Creative Writing and a master’s and PhD in Library and Information Studies (LIS) all from Florida State University. She has taught as both an adjunct and visiting professor covering Information Literacy, Information Ethics, LGBTQIA+ Issues in Public Libraries, and other topics in librarianship. Her dissertation and other graduate work all focused on LGBTQIA+ issue in libraries, particularly issues of access and representation. She is currently serving as Visiting Lecturer for Old Dominion University and has also been asked to guest lecture for LIS courses at multiple universities on librarianship and LGBTQIA+ issues, has published on varying topics of diversity and inclusion within LIS, and has presented at several conferences, including the inaugural Queer History South. Dawn is committed to building diverse, inclusive, and safe spaces for Queer and Trans folks, particularly in the rural south.

Soapy Jones

Soapy Jones

Soapy Jones is the owner of Left Hand Soap Company, Pink Box Burlesque and Brass Tack Events. She has a background in archiving, psychology, history, philosophy, and business administration. A native of nowhere, Soapy’s travels have provided opportunities to meet amazing, dedicated, passionate people, and introduce them to each other. Proud parent of Aidan (20) and partner to Erik. She doesn’t have any spare time to spend.

Warren Alexander O’Meara-Dates

Warren Alexander O’Meara-Dates

Warren Alexander Dates is a native of Gadsden, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Miles College, a United Negro College Fund member institution. He obtained his license to preach in 2004.
In 2010 following his November 2009 HIV/AIDS diagnosis, Minister Dates founded The 6:52 Project Foundation, Inc. (6:52 Project). The 6:52 Project began leading the way of exploring the complexity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as it partners with local, state and national individuals, organizations and corporations on January 16, 2010. Its resources targets individuals and organizations whose audience includes those affected and/or infected between the ages of 15-35 years.
Warren’s corporate work experience includes employ at The National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation (NBCAHOF) in Atlanta, Georgia where he served as Vice-President of Programs & Fund Development. Prior to the Hall of Fame, Warren worked for the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity & Inclusion Institute in North Carolina. As Program Manager, Warren was responsible for corporate relationships and managed the Institute’s annual Chief Diversity Officers Forum.
Since 2014, Warren has served as a consultant for Alabama Public Health’s Office of HIV Prevention & Care.  He was recently named Special Projects Coordinator and serves as Executive Producer of their Social Media Prevention Campaign, ‘Start Talking Alabama’.
Warren is the Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors for NEAL (Northeast Alabama) Together (an LGBTQ Community Support Group). On September 24, 2016, Dates married his love, Kevin, and is now Warren Alexander O’Meara-Dates.

Roger Torbert

Roger Torbert

Roger Torbert is the Vice President of Education at the Birmingham Zoo. Among his many duties, he coordinates Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Access for the Zoo as it serves its staff and the community as a whole. He has served on the board of Central Alabama Pride and the Highlands School Foundation.

Roger is the proud dad of two, Alex (26) and Tulley (17). In his spare time, he enjoys creating art and spending time with his partner, Randall.

Mateo Pereda

Mateo Pereda

Mateo Pereda lives in Florence, AL, where they serve as President of the Board for Equality Shoals, an LGBTQ+ community-building, education, and advocacy organization. Access to and support of the arts is an issue they hold dear to their heart. As a poet and sometimes artist, Mateo knows firsthand how creative expression can have an enriching and positive impact in our personal lives.

Jerald Crook

Jerald Crook

Jerald Crook hails from Bay Minette, Alabama. He attended Auburn University where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a minor in Sustainability. He began his professional career working in public and academic libraries before joining the Alabama Bicentennial Commission staff as community relations specialist. There he served as liaison between the commission and local organizations and bicentennial committees. Jerald is currently the programs coordinator for the Alabama Humanities Foundations where he primarily coordinates Alabama History Day, the state affiliate of National History Day, a national history competition for 6th-12th grade students. The recent recipient of a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Jerald is an avid arts and humanities enthusiast and advocate who enjoys finding ways to leverage these disciplines to development and strengthen community bonds. He finds a means of doing this through his own nonprofit project, Higher Ground Society, which uses arts programming to forge community and facilitate conversation about societal issues.

Julia Brock, PhD

Julia Brock, PhD

Julia Brock is a native of Rome, Georgia, and is an assistant professor of History at the University of Alabama. She practices, studies, and teaches public history with a special interest in museums, digital history, oral history, and community partnerships.

Wayne Coleman

Wayne Coleman

Wayne Coleman, Head of Archives and Technology for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Archives Department, is responsible for overall management and direct supervision of the archive’s collections. Since starting with the Institute, it has been his responsibility to formulate and implement all policies and procedures, hire personnel, acquire collections, process archival materials, and provide for the overall physical care of the Institute’s collections that are used for research purposes.

Jeffrey Bibbee, PhD

Jeffrey Bibbee, PhD

Jeffrey Bibbee is from Florence, Alabama, and is currently serving as the Associate Dean for the UNA College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering and as a professor of history. Jeffrey grew up in Decatur, Alabama, and traveled around the world for graduate school to end up fifty miles from his hometown. At UNA, Jeffrey teaches courses in British history, history education, and focuses on numerous student welfare issues. He serves the greater Shoals community on several boards and community organizations.

When not at work…which is not often…Jeffrey loves traveling, food, and a really good book.

Lolita Rowe

Lolita Rowe

Lolita Rowe is the Assistant University Archivist for Outreach & Engagement at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She was previously the Community Outreach Archivist at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She worked with the Metro Atlanta community to collect, preserve, and provide access to diverse voices in the archive. Previous to that, she worked as the Reference and Outreach Coordinator for UNC Charlotte where she assisted with collection development and outreach activities for the King-Henry-Brockington LGBTQ+ Archive. In her free time, she loves to travel down the rabbit hole of superhero origin stories.

Bettina Byrd-Giles

Bettina Byrd-Giles

Bettina moved to Birmingham in the 7th grade. She grew up in College Hills and Titusville in west Birmingham. Upon graduating from The University of Virginia, she turned down job offers in the Mid-Atlantic states to come home and make a difference in her community. She has served as both COO and CEO of The Bethesda Life Center, Inc., a primary care medical facility, which serves patients regardless of their ability to pay. The Bethesda is one of the anchors of rejuvenation in downtown Ensley. Bettina still lives in west Birmingham with her husband and son in a community adjacent to Ensley.

She is an experienced health disparities and cultural competence consultant. She has worked with the defense industry, academic medical research, the automotive and manufacturing industries. Several years of her career were dedicated to higher education at an academic medical research university. Her academic achievements include a master of arts (MA.Ed) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Bachelor of Arts from The University of Virginia in International Relations. I have acquired professional development certifications in intercultural communication including: Qualified Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) Administrator, Intercultural Foundations Certificate, Intercultural Practitioner Certificate.

Dr. Brittany Chandler Sanders

Dr. Brittany Chandler Sanders

Dr. Brittany Chandler Sanders is a Nurse Practitioner based out of Birmingham, Alabama and her medical specialization is Nurse Practitioner – Adult Health. She practices in Birmingham, Alabama.

Adam Ware, PhD

Adam Ware, PhD

Adam Ware is the B.J. & Dicksie Bandy Chair of American History at Dalton State College and the Director of the Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia. He holds a doctorate in American Religious History with emphasis in Museum Studies from Florida State University, where his research incorporated material history, public memory, and theories of gender, affect, and practice.

A ninth-generation Appalachian, he returned to the foothills to “dig where his roots are deepest” and lead and decolonize the Bandy Center’s collection, preservation, and interpretation activities in 2018. Previously, he served as the historian and research librarian of the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, where he contributed to the Center’s award-winning collection and preservation work in the wake of the June 12, 2016 murders at Orlando’s Pulse Night Club and the global outpouring of memorial activity that followed. His critical reflections on the experience have appeared in The Public Historian and The Journal of Museums and Social Issues.

In what little free time he finds, he loves cooking, hiking, crate-digging at record stores, and dragooning his partner into watching bad horror movies.