Genma Speaks

Entrepreneur/ Writer/ Radio-Host

Friday, October 18, 2013

Jeff Drew Son of Birmingham Civil Rights Leaders Discuss City's Struggles and Resiliency on Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes

Join Living Your Best Life with Genma Holmes as we profile organizations and leaders who lead by example. With extraordinary acts of kindness and charitable giving that help countless lives daily, these organizations and leaders embody "Be the change you want to see in the world".

Throughout 2013, listeners will hear from presidents of organizations who are global change agents. We will also hear from CEOs of social enterprise businesses who are changing communities and college educators who are taking their students out of the classroom and into surrounding neighborhoods to learn and serve others.

On Saturday, October 19, 2013, join us to hear Jeff Drew, a lifelong resident of Birmingham, Alabama, as he shares about the "tumultuous year" in Civil Rights History, 1963. Listen as Drew talk about living in an area that was bombed so frequently that it was nicknamed "Dynamite Hill". Drew's parents, John and Addine Drew, were influential business owners and leaders in the Birmingham's Civil Rights movement who often met with Civil Rights Leaders from around the country. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. often stayed with the family when he would visit the city. Hear Jeff Drew share first hand stories of Dr. King.

Jeff Drew also will discuss the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and how it affected young people not only in Birmingham but throughout the South. Drew will share his thoughts on the long term affects from racial unrest on the families in Birmingham as well as our country. Drew will give us updates on the city and how the 50th Anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing comes at time when our country is seeing more racial division.

This show is part of four week series entitled: "Celebrating the Triumph of the Human Spirit: The 50th Anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing”

Tune into 760AM in the Middle Tennessee Region, on Tune In, streaming live on line at UStream.TV, and on military bases on Saturdays from 9:00-10am CST. This show will also air on the HBCU Network.

More About Jeff Drew

Jeff Drew is a second generation family business owner. Alexander Insurance Agency was founded by Jeff Drew’s father in 1932 before desegregation and the civil rights movement. Jeff  Drew joined the firm in 1973 to operate Mobile and Tuskegee divisions. Despite the challenges the firm faced, whether it was civil rights struggles or a wave of new competitors, the firm has continued to thrive.

The general insurance agency, which offers property and casualty insurance, as well as specialized lines, has grown steadily to become one of the oldest black-owned agencies in the country.
The agency was initially established in Atlanta in 1932, by Drew’s father, John, and T.M. Alexander Sr., who was a prominent Atlanta businessman at the time.

In many ways, the struggle for civil rights played a major role in the agency. But Drew’s father and the company, played a role in the civil rights movement, as well. The agency planted its roots in the Magic City during the movement and played a role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Jeff Drew’s father, who was a classmate of Martin Luther King Sr. at Morehouse College, helped the boycott organizers obtain the insurance they needed to help the boycott be successful.

Drew said the success of the Civil Rights movement also impacted his family’s business.
“Prior to the Civil Rights act, there were probably not more than five independent minority-owned agencies in the country. Those five were obviously doing well, because people of a minority persuasion had nowhere else to go,” Drew recalled. “Now, all of the doors are open to any and everybody.”

Drew said service has always been one of the mottos of the company – dating back to when his father founded the firm. That has helped Alexander Insurance Agency become the oldest independent minority-owned insurance agency in the state and one of the oldest in the country.

“The strategy is that one company tells another,” he said. Drew said being a second-generation family-owned business is something that always weighs on his mind. “I think about it all the time,” Drew said.

Drew, who is also a jazz musician, has been active in the Birmingham community. He was recognized nationally for his work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and he is a certified first responder. The firm has found its niche serving clients both large and small. Alexander Insurance Agency was also the first minority-owned agency to serve as agency of record for the Birmingham Water Works Sewer Board.

Drew said the firm prides itself in being able to serve both the rich and the poor. “There is still a need for the common man to have access to insurance,” he said. For more of Jeff Drew's story go to  Birmingham Business Journal.

Jeff Drew will be speaking at
Celebrates the Triumph of the Human Spirit: 
The 50th Anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing. 
Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
6:00-9:00 pm
1700 University Boulevard, 4th Floor
Birmingham, Alabama 35294

Limited seating. No admission charge. 


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