Keeping Her Legacy Alive By Helping Others
Who Is Theresa Burroughs?
Mrs. Theresa Turner Burroughs was the youngest of eleven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Napoleon and Mattie Turner near Moundville, AL on August 14, 1928. Due to a flood, the family moved to Greensboro, AL. Theresa Turner graduated from Hale County Training School in 1946. She was married to the late Walter Kenneth Burroughs, who retired from the United States Army. During the 50's, she graduated from Bestita School of Beauty. She owned and operated Burroughs Beauty Bar in Greensboro for well over fifty years. During this time, she received recognition and won several competitions for her technical skills. She had a very large clientele until retirement. Mrs. Burroughs departed this life on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019 at Druid City Hospital and was the mother of four children: Paula Renae, Kathy Sue, Leslie Erroll (deceased) and Toni Teresa. She had seven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, one adopted grandson, Daniel Splaingard, two devoted nephews; Jonathan Turner and Joe Turner, a sister-in-law, Mrs. Annie Turner-Tabb, and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. She was a community and Civil Rights Activist who marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL on Bloody Sunday, alongside Dr. King. She assisted in obtaining various programs for the city of Greensboro and Hale County. Her rental property at 2401 Davis Street was used to provide the first home for West Alabama Health Services in Greensboro many years ago. This will be dedicated as Theresa Burroughs Residential Living. The property has been in the family since February 10th, 1937. She and other activists were organized by the late Attorney J.L Chestnut of Selma, AL to establish the Hale County Civic Improvement League. This organization was instrumental in assisting and making changes in Greensboro and Hale County. They did so by soliciting and supporting qualified minorities to run for public offices such as: city council, county commissioners members, sheriff, school board members, etc. Because of her work as an activist, she had a clear vision of why the city of Greensboro needed a museum to preserve the local citizens' role in the civil rights movement. In 2002, she founded the Black Historical Safe House Museum in Greensboro, AL located on Martin Luther King Drive. Mrs. Burroughs was instrumental in changing the name of Depot Street to Martin Luther King Drive. With the assistance of political officials, friends, such as: Mrs. Dora McQueen and others, board members, students, family, Dr. Amilcar Shabazz and staff members of the University of Alabama, Stillman College and Auburn University, the vision started to become a reality. Architects Samuel Mockbee, Andrew Freear and the students and staff of Auburn Rural Studios assisted in expanding the vision. Three dedicated students of Auburn Rural Studios; Cassandra Kellogg, Candace Rimes and Chris Currie worked tirelessly on the expansion of the museum and did an awesome job. Mrs. Burroughs referred to them as "The 3 C's." Today, the museum has been visited by people throughout the United States and abroad. She did all of these things while tending to the special needs of her oldest daughter, Paula Renae. Today, the youngest of the four children, Toni, wants to continue her mother's legacy of improving Greensboro and making a difference by opening a group home, Theresa Burroughs Residential Living. The group home is needed in the community, which is underserved in this area and would be the first of its kind. Also, Toni wants to ensure a professionally run and safe place for Paula and others with special needs to reside. The non-profit organization shares the same name in hopes to generate support from everyone who is interested in assisting in bringing change to this small town. Mrs. Burroughs was a faithful member of St. Matthew A.M.E. Church located in Greensboro. She was loved by her children and family. Over the years, she provided assistance to a lot of people and had no desire for public recognition. But, she received recognition and awards for her work as a visionary and community activist on the local, state and national levels. They are as follows: State of Alabama Certificate of Appreciation 1985 State of Alabama Certificate of Appreciation 1986 State of Alabama Certificate of Service State of Alabama Election Law Commissioner Black Belt Community Foundation Christian Education Department Certificate of Appreciation Proclamation Hale County Commissioners Proclamation City of Greensboro City of Greensboro Award for Service to the Citizens of Hale County Wall of Tolerance Certificate of Appreciation African American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium Award Legacy of Local Heroes Certificate of Appreciation President's Club of Alabama Award Founder's Award 2012 Business Etiquette Award 2016 Call to Conscience Award Drum Major for Justice Award Foot Soldier for Justice Award Alabama Democratic Conference Trailblazer Award Alabama Democratic Conference The M.L.K. American Dream Award University of Alabama Lifetime Contributions to Human and Civil Rights St. Matthew A.M.E. Years of Service Award President Barack Obama Legacy Book Created Exclusively for Mrs. Burroughs Congressional Report in Honor of Mrs. Burroughs presented by Congresswoman Terri Sewell Lifetime Achievement Award
"If you see something in your community that needs to be done and you're going to talk about it, be prepared to do something about it."
- Mrs. Theresa Burroughs