Realizing the Dream through vision and leadership

Realizing the Dream 2024: Former Senator, Mayor to be Honored

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — “Realizing the Dream Through Vision and Leadership” is the focus of this year’s Realizing the Dream celebration and was selected by a committee of representatives from Shelton State Community College, Stillman College, the Tuscaloosa chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and The University of Alabama.

Legacy Awards Banquet

The 15th annual Realizing the Dream Legacy Awards Banquet will take place Friday, Jan. 12, at 6:30 p.m. in Sellers Auditorium at the Bryant Conference Center.

Award-winning journalist Clarence Page will be the Legacy Awards Banquet speaker. Page is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and a columnist syndicated nationally by Tribune Media Services. A member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board, he is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the Chicago Headline Club and the National Association of Black Journalists and was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame. Page is the author of the best-selling book, “Showing My Color: Impolite Essays on Race and Identity.”

At the banquet, former Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington Jr. will receive the Mountaintop Award. He was elected as Birmingham’s first Black mayor in 1979. When he left office 20 years later, the city had a record number of jobs and its lowest unemployment rate, as well as its lowest level of crime in 25 years.

Former Senator G. Douglas Jones will receive the Call to Conscience Award. As a previous U.S. attorney, he led the prosecution team in the re-opened case of the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, successfully prosecuting two former KKK members for the murder of four young girls in one of the deadliest crimes of the civil rights era.

Stillman College student Adebola Aderibigbe will receive the Horizon Award.

Realizing the Dream Concert

Jason Nelson will be the featured artist for the 2024 Realizing the Dream Concert on Sunday, Jan. 14. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at The University of Alabama’s Moody Music Concert Hall.

Nelson is a gospel performer and songwriter who began his professional musical career with the debut album “I Shall Live” in 2005, followed by “Place of Worship” in 2008. In 2013, he received the Stellar Award for Praise and Worship CD of the Year for “Shifting the Atmosphere.” He released his latest album, “Close,” in 2021. In addition to his passion for music, he is also active as the pastor of his father’s church, The Tabernacle at Greater Bethlehem Temple in Randallstown, Maryland.

Unity Day

Monday, Jan. 15

8 a.m.Unity Breakfast at Beulah Baptist Church, 3100 25th St., Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Hon. Ricky McKinney, Pastor of the Weeping Mary Missionary Baptist Church, is the keynote speaker.

NoonMarch for Justice

The Unity March will begin at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and Beulah Baptist Church and end at City Hall. March participants will line up at 11:30 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

4 p.m.Rally and Stand for Justice, First African Baptist Church, 2621 Stillman Blvd.

Rev. Dr. Lonnie Weaver, Pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, is the keynote speaker.

For questions, call Rev. James Williams, President of the Tuscaloosa SCLC, at 205-345-3761.


Concert tickets are $20. Legacy Banquet tickets are $30 for individuals or $200 for a table of 8. Dress is semi-formal. Tickets for both events can be purchased online.

For ticketing information, call 205-348-7111 or email

For more information about Realizing the Dream, including additional activities and events taking place throughout the year, visit the website or call 205-348-8376.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.


Diane Kennedy-Jackson, Division of Community Affairs,