Dr. Everett B. Kelley vowed to continue leading the fight against attacks on AFGE members and the work they do as he was sworn in as AFGE national president on March 1.
Kelley previously served as the union’s national secretary-treasurer. Per the AFGE Constitution, he assumed the office of the AFGE National President on the occasion of J. David Cox’s resignation on February 28.
“Thanks to the incredible solidarity of our members, your spirit, your determination, and your focus, the important work AFGE performs every day on behalf of the 700,000 federal and D.C. government employees we represent has continued uninterrupted as we have gone through this difficult period as a union,” Kelley said.
“AFGE members are ready to come together, to act with a unity of purpose, and to secure a better future for all government employees. And I am ready to build on that momentum and expand on our string of recent accomplishments,” he added.
Kelley has been instrumental in the growth of AFGE. After joining the union in 1981 while working at the Anniston Army Depot, he made history by becoming the first African American to serve as president of Local 1945 and helped grow his local from 1,200 members in 2002 to 2,600 in 2010.
As District 5 national vice president, he helped grow the district’s membership from 38,000 to over 51,000 in seven years. Under his leadership, District 5 became the first and only district to have over 50,000 members. He was also the first African American to serve as NVP for District 5.
A native of Goodwater, Alabama, Kelley moved with his family to Sylacauga, Alabama, where he graduated from Sylacauga High School. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and served our country for three years. After his military career, Kelley focused on education. He completed an AA at Central Alabama Community College. He then matriculated at Selma University and earned a Bachelor of Theology and Master of Theology at Rushing Springs School of Theology.
Upon graduation, Kelley honored his learning experience by serving as an instructor at Birmingham Estonian Bible college and Rushing Spring School of Theology. He continued his education and obtained a Doctorate degree in 2016. Kelley was the recipient of the Hubert Humphrey Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Kelley is a board member of Habitat for Humanity Alabama local chapter and served as board member of the Economic Development Council of Calhoun County Alabama, East Alabama Planning Commission, Association of United States Army. He served as the senior pastor of St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church in Lincoln, Alabama for 31 and a half years before retiring in February 2019 and being appointed Pastor Emeritus.