Odessa's Open Road
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
I don't think anybody who has been successful has had a pain-free life. Pain, embarrassment, falling on your face--those are motivators.
- Discrimination was a daily part of life when she was growing up in Birmingham, Alabama.
- Hometown nicknamed "Bombingham" because of the consequences for anyone questioning the status quo.
- Studied history and political science at Talladega College and earned a master's in urban studies.
- Interested in teaching from a young age; taught high school at the height of civil rights movement.
- Worked in public policy and top-level administration in New York and Washington D.C.
- Taught at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where a community service award is named for her.
- Helped create the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
- Says: You owe it to yourself to figure out how you can make it better for the next generation.