Sheila Tyson

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Sheila Tyson

Sheila Burkes Tyson (born March 8, 1961) is a business accountant and representative of District 6 on the Birmingham City Council. She is a former president of the West End community and of the Birmingham Citizens Advisory Board. She is also the president of the National Action Network Birmingham Chapter.

Tyson graduated from West End High School and received training in business accounting at the Quartermaster Center and School operated by the U.S. Army at Fort Lee, Virginia. She was elected vice president of the Arlington-West End neighborhood in the 2006 Birmingham neighborhood elections and became president of the West End Community in 2008. She succeeded Emanuel Ford as president of the CAB in January 2009.

During the 2007 Birmingham mayoral election Tyson served as campaign manager for Patrick Cooper.

During the 2008 general election Tyson's Alabama Coalition helped to re-register freed ex-felons who had been unlawfully purged from voter rolls and also registered prisoners in local jails who were qualified to vote by absentee ballot.

Tyson ran for the Birmingham City Council District 6 seat held by Carole Smitherman in the 2009 Birmingham City Council election. In the campaign, Tyson's primary issue was improving the quality of life in her district by addressing the problems of abandoned houses, crime and business closures. Her campaign got an early start airing radio ads accusing Smitherman of ignoring the district's needs. During the runoff election questions arose about the educational claims made on her website, specifically whether her training with the Army qualified as a "degree". She said she used the term as a simplification of the military certification she actually received.

Tyson also reported harassment during the runoff election, blaming supporters of incumbent Carole Smitherman for personal intimidation, destruction of yard signs, and perhaps even for leaving a dead cat at her doorstep. Although she forced Smitherman into a runoff, Tyson lost it by a margin of 98 votes (approximately 2.6%).

Smitherman resigned from the council in 2012 to become a Circuit Court Judge. In her successful campaign to claim the vacated seat in the 2013 Birmingham municipal election, Tyson spoke of expanding services to low-income homeowners and improving parks in the district.

After the Council's committees were restructured in December 2015, Tyson was appointed chair of the Public Improvement Committee and assigned to serve on the Park & Recreation and Public Safety & Transportation committees.

Tyson has been active in protests aimed at preventing the closure of Cooper Green Mercy Hospital and the sale of the Jefferson Rehabilitation Health Center. In the 2014 Democratic primary Tyson mounted a failed challenge to incumbent Sandra Little Brown for the District 2 seat on the Jefferson County Commission.

In June 2016 Tyson argued against a proposal for the city to remove some landscaping on 19th Street North for a Birmingham Holocaust Memorial Garden, paid for by donors to the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center. She compared the request to failed attempts to win public funding to improve the privately-owned Shadow Lawn Cemetery, which she erroneously called, "the oldest cemetery in the world." In a later statement, Tyson clarified that she was bothered that her efforts to help Shadow Lawn Cemetery had been stopped by the city's legal department while this project was approved. She said that the city would have to "commit to the exploration of creating an appropriate and quiet space to reflect on the life of those who fought so hard to create the Birmingham that we get to enjoy today," before voting in favor of the proposal.

Tyson endorsed Randall Woodfin for re-election in 2021. In July 2022 Tyson was delivering box fans to residents in Bessemer without working air conditioning and was caught in a shootout between two cars on 9th Avenue North. She was unharmed.

Preceded by:
Keith Aaron
Arlington-West End neighborhood president
Succeeded by:
Deloris Clayton
Preceded by:
Carole Smitherman
Birmingham City Council District 6
Succeeded by:
Crystal Smitherman
Preceded by:
Sandra Little Brown
Jefferson County Commission District 2
Succeeded by:
Jefferson County Commission
District 1 Lashunda Scales District 2 Sheila Tyson District 3 Jimmie Stephens
District 4 Joe Knight District 5 Mike Bolin


  • Ruisi, Anne (January 16, 2009) "Sheila Tyson elected president of the Birmingham, Alabama Citizens Advisory Board." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (July 12, 2009) "Birmingham City Council race rivals Carole Smitherman, Sheila Tyson skirmish in radio ads." The Birmingham News
  • Birmingham City Council elections District 6: Sheila Tyson." (August 19, 2009) The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (September 24, 2009) "Birmingham City Council candidate Sheila Tyson under scrutiny over academic claims." The Birmingham News
  • Bryant, Joseph D. (September 30, 2009) "Birmingham City Council candidate Sheila Tyson blames a dead cat find on her opposition." The Birmingham News
  • Downgin, Jared (August 23, 2013) "District 6: Eager for representation after Tuesday elections since councilor moved to judgeship in January." The Birmingham News
  • Wright, Barnett (May 30, 2014) "Jefferson County Commission candidate profile: Sheila Tyson, District 2." The Birmingham News
  • Archibald, John (June 22, 2016) "Alabama city councilwoman on Holocaust: "Dead is dead"." The Birmingham News
  • Prickett, Sam (November 13, 2018) "Scales and Tyson Couldn’t Have Been More Different in Farewells to the Birmingham Council" BirminghamWatch
  • Johnson, Roy S. (November 10, 2021) "Sheila Tyson, Lashunda Scales tension erupts over county redistricting." The Birmingham News
  • "Jeffco Commissioner Sheila Tyson caught in shootout driving through Bessemer." (August 2, 2022) Birmingham Times

External links