“In the words of Malcom X, ‘Of all of our studies, History is best required to reward your research'” is what Historic Content Expert, Barry McNealy of the BCRI told us this past Wednesday.  

From family, students to co-workers (past and present) many came out to share vibes of appreciation, consideration and more than that, love for a man who loves what he does and those he does them for. 

Mr. McNealy has also been a high school instructor at A.H. Parker for twenty-five years and for many students, a go-to when they’re in search for reasoning and more importantly, advice and historic notes whenever needed.  

Held at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Mrs. Izette McNealy told us, “My husband celebrates everything and everybody yet he never wants to be celebrated, so we decided this year we’d celebrate a man who loves everyone on his birthday at the place he loves to be more than anywhere else.” 

Known for his knowledge of Alabama History, U.S. History and history period, many have noted that Mr. McNealy is a deeply humble being who strives to help others learn about History and to build strong foundations within the diaphragm of future generations that’ll become upstanding citizens. 

With an immaculate spread of various dishes, deserts and drinks fitting for Valentine’s Day, the celebration brought to mind a ceremony for not only a man but one who means much to Jefferson County. Students like Tiffany Williams, Shiloh Britt and Tiarra Austin spoke on the importance of having a mentor and passionate teacher such as Mr. McNealy, as family spoke on one who’s exemplified what a man should be as an example for others. Mr. McNealy’s sons spoke eloquently about the importance of having a father, as B.J. McNealy told us, “I’m just so proud of my father for what he’s done and I thank him for pushing me hard as he has to be a better person.” 

Dr. John Plump spoke on the importance of brotherhood and colleagues being more than just co-workers as he gave a riveting rendition of the known Sinatra tune, “My Way” as a birthday presentation to Mr. McNealy.  

BCRI (Birmingham Civil Rights Institute) President and CEO DeJuana Thompson told us, “Mr. Barry is a champion within our community and a true fixture of what our Institute embodies within our mission, he’s truly the heartbeat here at our museum.” 

We thank Mr. Barry McNealy for his professional expertise, but more so just for being an exceptional human being in today’s society. 

We salute all of our February born as we continue to recognize history and the lessons it can share with us all.