Janice Wesley Kelsey

Janice Wesley Kelsey

Mrs. Kelsey is a product of the Birmingham Public School System. She is a graduate of Miles College where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and later earned Master’s and Educational Specialist Degrees in Counseling from University of Alabama at Birmingham.

After more than thirty years of service as teacher, counselor and principal, she retired from the Birmingham Board of Education. Since retiring, Mrs. Kelsey has become an independent Educational Consultant, working with agencies such as the African American Studies Program at UAB, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and United Way of Central Alabama.

As a high school student, Mrs. Kelsey was among hundreds who went to jail for participation in the demonstrations in 1963 in Birmingham, AL. She is also featured in the Oscar winning documentary, “Mighty Times: The Children’s March.”

“Am I partly responsible for the death of those girls?”

Sunday, September 15, 1963…a time in history that is etched in my memory.

On Sunday, September 15, 1963, the beautiful fall morning began as any other Sunday morning in the Wesley household. Mama would get up early, fill the house with the aroma of bacon frying, biscuits baking and even dinner cooking.

It was not hard to get her brood of eight (plus three others) stirring when the house was filled with the smell of good food. The only one of the eight missing was my brother who had volunteered for the army. Two teenage girls who had experienced unfortunate family circumstances had joined our family and a five month old infant was also in the mix.