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Karlos Finley named Executive Director of Africatown Redevelopment Corp.


Written by: Keith Lane Published by NBC 15 on November 1, 2022

man speaking in front of historical marker
Karlos Finley named Executive Director of Africatown Redevelopment Corp. (file image - WPMI)

The Africatown Redevelopment Corporation Board of Directors has chosen local attorney Karlos Finley to serve as the organization’s first executive director.


The appointment is effective immediately, according to Marc Jackson, chairman of the board of the non-profit organization. The Board of Directors is hosting an Executive Director and Board “Meet & Greet” for the community at 4:30 PM on December 6, 2022, at the Robert L. Hope Community Center, 850 Edwards Street, Mobile, AL 36610.


The Africatown Redevelopment Corporation was created by an act of the Alabama Legislature in 2021 to revitalize Mobile’s historic Plateau community, also known as Africatown, preserve its history, and develop commerce there.


Finley has practiced law for over 20 years and served as a City of Mobile Municipal Court judge from 2015-2022. He is also a former Mobile County assistant district attorney.


After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard for five years, Finley worked as a machine operator at Scott Paper Co., now Kimberly-Clark Corp., in Africatown. While working at Scott Paper, he attended Bishop State Community College and earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from the University of Mobile. His minor was sociology.


Finley earned his law degree from Miles Law School in Fairfield, AL. He was valedictorian of his class and president of the Miles Law School Student Bar Association.


Finley is a member of many community organizations and professional associations. He is president of the board of directors of Friends of the African American Heritage Trail, founded by his late sister Dora Franklin Finley to educate, preserve and mark historic contributions of African-Americans in Mobile.


Once a thriving community with over 10,000 inhabitants, Africatown currently has fewer than 2,000 residents and many vacant and deteriorating structures.


“Our primary goal is to revitalize housing in Africatown by constructing new affordable single-family homes and obtaining and rehabilitating vacant houses,” ARC Board Chairman Jackson said.


“The Mobile County Commission has allocated $3 million to the organization to begin the revitalization process. However, the organization will need to raise much more than that to help make Africatown a sustainable community,” Jackson said. He said raising funds for the revitalization is one of the primary responsibilities of the executive director.


Companies and philanthropic organizations that are interested in making contributions to Africatown Redevelopment Corporation may contact Karlos Finley at (251) 533-4344 or karlos@AtownRC.com


Africatown Redevelopment Corporation received funding from the City of Mobile to pay operational expenses for approximately two years. The organization also plans to obtain abandoned properties in Africatown from the City of Mobile through its Neighborhood Renewal Program. Some of these properties are vacant, while others contain houses that need to be rehabilitated.


Africatown Redevelopment Corporation is governed by a nine-member board. In addition to Jackson, the members are Vice President Angela Davis Littles, Secretary Jill Stork, Treasurer Shirley Sessions, Ruth Ballard, Teresa Fox Bettis, Ann Brown, Keri Coumanis and Terry Harbin.


The members are appointed by the Clotilda Descendants Association, Africatown Heritage Preservation Foundation, Senator Vivian Davis Figures, Rep. Adline Clarke, Mobile County Commissioner Merceria Ludgood, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson and Mobile City Councilman William Carroll.


Board meetings are open to the public and are held on the first Tuesday of each month, 4:00pm at the Robert L. Hope Community Center, 850 Edwards Street, Mobile, AL 36610.

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