, when asked about the representation of African-Americans
in management positions in the travel industry, Mike
relented that Charlotte
at the time had only 15%
which in his opinion was not enough. While I do not have any specific data to update those stats, based on observation, the percentage of African-Americans
in management appears to still be low in Charlotte
later. On the other hand, Birmingham
has lifted the industry's low flying glass ceiling with another African-American
holding down the position of Vice-President
. To boot, the city's Chief of Police
, Fire Chief
, and Mayor
are all African-American
is well acquainted. Who would have dreamed nearly 50 years
ago that a Black
man would now be in charge of the same fire departments whose hoses tormented many of people of color, and that a Black
man would now be in charge of the same police departments whose dogs mangled many of people of color in the 1960s
during the Civil Rights Movement
. And let us not forget about the now famous letter written by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
from his Birmingham
jail cell in April
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, now 57
(2011), is quick to point out these accomplishments as he recounts the city's civil progress from Jim Crow
to now. Jim Crow
, for those of you that does not know, was a demeaning traveling minstrel show that poked fun at Blacks
. It is that history and subsequent progress as well as the people that keep him in Birmingham
. He is also excited about the new entertainment district that is in the works for downtown and the fact that they have an international airport for easy access to/from overseas. On Valentines Day
- February 14
- of this year he became a Grandfather
to a new bouncing baby boy who will certainly be good company to his Granddaughter
- now 14 years old
They say that if you find something that you genuinely like doing; you will never have to work another day of your life. Mr. Gunn
is still a die-hard golfer -- with a 15 handicap
-- who has as much fun on the course as he does on the job. He has worked in the travel and tourism industry for nearly 30 years
and has weathered all of its ups and downs. "People will always travel,"
he says confidently, but he still would like to see more African-Americans
represented in the industry nationwide. And by the way, he still dresses to impress.
is on the Board of Directors
of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners
, and is a member of the Religious Conference Management Association
, and American Society of Associate Executives
. He is a certified meeting planner and has won the following awards and accreditations: 2001
, Supplier of the Year, National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners; 2003
, Certified Meeting Planner certification; 2004
, Venice De Milo Award; 2007
APEX Award by Black Meeting and Tourism Magazine; and 2009
, Tourism Director of the Year.
For additional information on visiting Birmingham, AL click here
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