History Podcasts

University of Alabama desegregated

University of Alabama desegregated

Facing federalized Alabama National Guard troops, Alabama Governor George Wallace ends his blockade of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and allows two African American students to enroll on June 11, 1963.

George Wallace, one of the most controversial politicians in U.S. history, was elected governor of Alabama in 1962 under an ultra-segregationist platform. In his 1963 inaugural address, he promised his white followers: “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” When African American students attempted to desegregate the University of Alabama in June 1963, Alabama’s new governor, flanked by state troopers, literally blocked the door of the enrollment office. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, had declared segregation unconstitutional in 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, and the executive branch undertook aggressive tactics to enforce the ruling.

On June 10, 1963, President John F. Kennedy federalized National Guard troops and deployed them to the University of Alabama to force its desegregation. The next day, Governor Wallace yielded to the federal pressure, and two African American students—Vivian Malone and James A. Hood—successfully enrolled. In September of the same year, Wallace again attempted to block the desegregation of an Alabama public school—this time Tuskegee High School—but President Kennedy once again employed his executive authority and federalized National Guard troops. Wallace had little choice but to yield.

READ MORE: Segregation in the United States

Integration of College Athletics

Wilbur Jackson Intercollegiate athletics first appeared on Alabama campuses in the late nineteenth century, when football quickly became the most popular team sport, trailed at some distance by baseball and basketball. Across the Deep South, competitive sports and all other aspects of higher education were rigidly segregated. When Alabama's all-white universities eventually began competing against northern schools, school officials consistently refused to play against any team with African American players, even if the games were held in the North. This policy of racial exclusion continued through the first six decades of the twentieth century. When the state's historically white universities were finally desegregated by the mid-1960s, competition against integrated teams became acceptable. At the end of the decade, white coaches started to recruit African Americans for their own teams. By the late 1970s, all previously white Alabama colleges fielded integrated athletic teams and many featured black stars, reflecting one of the more sweeping social changes brought about by the civil rights movement. John Mitchell During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the new sport of football spread from its origins at northeastern universities to colleges across the country. Football offered a powerful emotional appeal to young college men, one that transcended racial lines. The game's physical demands and rough play appealed to those who were eager to prove their manliness, and the sport soon surpassed baseball in popularity. Students at what is now Auburn University (AU) and the University of Alabama (UA) formed their schools' first intercollegiate football teams in 1892. At historically black Tuskegee Institute, principal Booker T. Washington's emphasis on vocational education did not conflict with the creation of a football team, which played its first game on January 1, 1894, as part of Emancipation Day festivities in Atlanta. Shug Jordan and Bear Bryant, 1975 Alabama and Auburn's refusal to compete against even one black opponent lasted until 1959. That year, UA coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and university officials agreed to play in the Liberty Bowl in Philadelphia, even though opponent Pennsylvania State University had an African American athlete on its roster. Except for this game, both Alabama schools continued to avoid such matchups and eventually ended up playing only all-white southern teams. Such exclusion eventually threatened the two schools' national status. Many Alabamians still believe that Gov. George C. Wallace's opposition to civil rights helped deny the University of Alabama a rare opportunity to play in the 1962 Rose Bowl and may have prompted sports writers to reject UA's undefeated team as national champions in 1966. Growing concern over a diminished status on the national collegiate scene, coupled with the continuing enrollment of black undergraduates at Alabama and Auburn, eventually undermined opposition to integrated competition. Auburn hosted its first home football game against an integrated foe, Wake Forest University, in September 1966. The most famous integrated home game played by Alabama occurred in September 1970, when the University of Southern California squad, which included some 20 black players, handed UA an embarrassing 42-21 loss. Henry Harris In 1967, the University of Kentucky fielded the first integrated varsity football team in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), prompting observers to question when other members of the SEC, including Auburn and Alabama, might recruit their first African American athletes. For most black Alabamians, a change in recruitment policy was long overdue, although some worried that the first black recruits at white colleges might be mistreated. Frustrated by the continuing exclusion of black players on the UA team, the school's black student association filed a lawsuit in the spring of 1969, charging it with racial discrimination in athletics. Racial restrictions in the state's athletic programs had already started to change by this time, however. In the summer of 1968, the white and black high school athletic associations merged pursuant to a court order, with limited competition between black and white high schools starting that fall. The integration of high school sports thus established a precedent that made it more acceptable for white college coaches to recruit minority athletes. Wendell Hudson Auburn integrated its athletic program slightly ahead of Alabama, and basketball integration proceeded slightly ahead of football integration. In the spring of 1968, Auburn basketball coach Bill Lynn convinced Boligee high school star Henry Harris to become the university's first black scholarship athlete. Some Auburn fans were quite unhappy about this historic development. When one member of the AU board of trustees criticized this change in policy at a board meeting, other trustees quickly defended Harris's recruitment and similar efforts in football. The second African American to play varsity basketball in the SEC, Harris enrolled in the fall of 1968 and became something of a fan favorite during his career. Although Harris led an isolated life at Auburn during his first two years, several additional African American athletes eventually joined him on campus. At Alabama, Coach C. M. Newton signed Wendell Hudson from Birmingham to a scholarship one year after Harris enrolled at Auburn. At the end of his senior year in the spring of 1973, Hudson was voted the conference player of the year. James Owens In football, the Alabama and Auburn coaching staffs began identifying promising black high school prospects during the fall 1968 season. Halfback James Owens, from predominantly white Fairfield High School, soon caught the eye of several scouts. Eventually Owens selected Auburn and played on the varsity team from 1970 to 1972. The following year, Alabama signed Wilbur Jackson of Ozark to an athletic scholarship. Jackson was a member of the 1970 freshman team at the time of Alabama's humiliating loss to the University of Southern California (USC), thus indicating that Bear Bryant had already committed himself to recruiting black athletes before the USC defeat. In the fall of 1971, Jackson and junior-college transfer John Mitchell joined the UA varsity, and the freshman team added three more African Americans, including future star Sylvester Croom. In 2003, Croom became the first black head football coach in the Southeastern Conference, when he was hired by Mississippi State University. The various conference and national titles won by Bryant's teams during the 1970s and the contributions made by black players to this success helped win over most white Alabama fans who had initially opposed any racial change on the gridiron. Sylvester Croom Jr. Integration of athletics was more than just the process by which African American athletes joined teams at elite white athletic programs such as Auburn and Alabama. Occasionally a white athlete enrolled at a historically black college as well. Apparently the first white player to compete for a black college in the state was offensive guard Joseph Malbouef of Detroit, Michigan, who played for the Tuskegee University football team from 1968 through 1971. Football and basketball games between historically black and historically white schools represented another dimension of athletic integration. In basketball, Huntington College and Tuskegee held what is thought to be the first basketball game between the state's historically white and black colleges in 1969. In the fall of 1975, Tuskegee and the University of West Alabama (then known as Livingston University) staged the equivalent contest for college football inside the state. Samford University Basketball Team, 1969 The integration of sports teams at the state's small colleges and community colleges proceeded slightly faster than at the elite senior institutions. Unfortunately, the experiences of the racial pioneers and their coaches at these schools have rarely been recorded. At the start of the 1969-70 basketball season, Samford University added three African American junior-college transfers—Sherman Hogan, Otha Mitchell, and Billy Williams—to its basketball team. The following year, Greg Robinson joined the Birmingham-Southern College basketball squad. In the fall of 1966, Kenneth Strickland joined the Gadsden State Junior College basketball team as one of the first black basketball players at a previously white communonity college. There was occasional resistance to such changes on the local level. In one extreme case involving Northeast Junior College on Sand Mountain, Bill Elder, the basketball coach there, received numerous harassing telephone calls and a few death threats after integrating his 1971 and 1972 teams.

James Hood, Student Who Desegregated University of Alabama, Is Dead

James A. Hood, who made history as one of the first two African-American students to enroll at the University of Alabama, died recently at age 70.

It was in 1963 that Hood catapulted into the history books when he, along with Vivian Malone, integrated the university under a federal court order ending segregation at the campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Hood and Malone entered the University of Alabama in an environment of tense emotion and resistance to integration. It came just months after the state’s governor, George C. Wallace, stated in his inaugural address “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

It was a challenging experience for Hood and Malone. He lived in a dorm with federal marshals staying on his floor. After his father became ill with cancer, Hood left the college “to avoid a complete mental and physical breakdown.”

He later earned a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a master’s degree from Michigan State University. He served as a deputy police chief in Detroit and chairman of the police science program at the Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin.

Vivian Malone, who died in 2005, became Alabama’s first Black graduate. She later worked in the United States Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Administration.

In later years, Hood returned to the University of Alabama, where he earned a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies in 1997. In 2002, he moved to the city where he was born: Gadsden, Alabama.

Initially, Hood attended Clark College, the historically African-American school now known as Clark Atlanta University. He wanted to major in clinical psychology but Clark did not offer that major at the time. He decided to transfer to the University of Alabama and joined with Malone in a federal suit that had been filed by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to desegregate the school.

“His legacy is that of a trailblazer and a person of courage,” said Cleophus Thomas Jr., a lawyer in Anniston, Alabama, who was elected as the first Black student government president at the University of Alabama in 1976.

“He embodied the courage of his generation in fulfilling the aspirations of the preceding generation,” he said, speaking to BET.com. “He was a worthy soldier.”

BET National News - Keep up to date with breaking news stories from around the nation, including headlines from the hip hop and entertainment world. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

This Week in Universal News: The University of Alabama is Desegregated, 1963

On June 11, 1963, Vivian Malone and James Hood arrived at the University of Alabama to register for summer classes. Instead of a helpful low-level administrator guiding them through the process, it took the National Guard to ensure their enrollment– George Wallace, the governor of their state, was blocking the door. Wallace’s “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” was the fulfillment of a campaign promise to prevent the desegregation of schools in Alabama. After hundreds of other qualified African-American applicants were denied admission, Hood and Malone were carefully selected to be the first break the color barrier. They were fully aware of the risk they were taking, but courageously showed up on that June day anyway to forge a path for other African-Americans to pursue an equal education. Vivian Malone graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965 and went on to a long career in public service. James Hood moved on to another school to finish his bachelor’s degree, but returned to the University of Alabama in 1995 to complete a doctorate.

From the release sheet:

ALABAMA STORY: NEGROES ENROLLED AS GOVERNOR YIELDS: The University of Alabama campus is under tight security guard as Governor George Wallace confronts a deputy U.S. Attorney. The Federal officers are armed with a proclamation urging the Governor to end his efforts to prevent two Negro students from registering. He stands firm and President Kennedy Federalizes the National Guard. When they move in, the Governor bows to Presidential authority and James Hood and Vivian Malone become the first two Negroes to be registered at the University. That night the President appealed to the Nation, saying the United States is facing a “moral crisis” and that it is the duty of all to uphold the law.

You may view the complete newsreel, which also includes a French airshow and a look back to D-Day, here.

About the Universal Newsreel Collection at NARA:

The Universal Newsreel Collection is one of the most used motion picture collections at the National Archives and Records Administration. Universal Newsreels were shown in movie theaters twice a week, from 1929 until 1967, and covered a wide range of American life and history during that time period. Each release usually contained five to seven stories averaging two minutes in length.

In 1974, Universal deeded its edited newsreel and outtake collection to the United States through the National Archives (NARA), and did not place any copyright restrictions on its use (some stories may contain other underlying intellectual property or proprietary use rights).

While Universal disposed of many of the soundtracks, leaving the newsreels incomplete, supplementary material like scripts, shot lists, and event programs can be found in the production files, available for research at Archives II in College Park, Maryland.

Learn more about the Universal Newsreel Collection in this post and in this Prologue article. Watch other Universal Newsreels in our research room, in OPA, and on this playlist.


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June 11, 1963: Vivian Malone and James Hood Registered at the University of Alabama

On 11 th June, 1963, Vivian Malone and James Hood arrived at the University of Alabama registration building. The building was guarded by 750 state troopers, local police, Alabama National Guardsmen, and George Wallace who stood at the doors to block the entrance. Wallace was given a ‘cease and desist’ order by Attorney General Katzenback sent by President Kennedy. After much debate between Katzenback and Wallace, the two students were escorted to the front of the auditorium by Brigadier General Henry Graham of the National Guard. Malone and Hood registered for classes that day, making Alabama the 50th state in the union to desegregate its public school system.

Hood and Vivian Malone Jones, attempted to register and pay fees on 11 th June, 1963, at the University of Alabama’s Foster Auditorium, accompanied by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach. Governor George Wallace, surrounded by a phalanx of state troopers, barred them, attempting to keep his infamous inaugural promise of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Later that day, Wallace backed down after President John F. Kennedy federalized the National Guard.
George Wallace, one of the most controversial politicians in U.S. history, was elected governor of Alabama in 1962 under an ultra-segregationist platform. In his 1963 inaugural address, he promised his white followers: “Segregation now! Segregation tomorrow! Segregation forever!” When the two African-American students attempted to desegregate the University, Alabama’s new governor, flanked by state troopers, literally blocked the door of the enrollment office. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, had declared segregation unconstitutional in 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, and the executive branch undertook aggressive tactics to enforce the ruling.

That moment was one of four major events in Alabama’s central part in the civil rights movement, Clark said, along with the church bombing in Birmingham later in 1963, Bloody Sunday in Selma, and the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The image of Wallace’s protruding jaws, with the stoic defiance of the students, became iconic.

Zeta Phi Beta Soror Who Desegregated the University of Alabama in 1956 Receives Honorary Doctorate From the University

The first black student to ever enroll at the University of Alabama, Autherine Lucy Foster, was presented an honorary doctoral degree on Friday.

Foster, a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., enrolled into the University of Alabama 1956. According to a statement released by the university, she “initially applied to UA in 1952 after earning a degree in English from Miles College that same year. However, her acceptance was rescinded because she was not white. A federal court order later reversed that decision, and Foster enrolled at UA in 1956. The blueprint for contemporary diversity and inclusion was laid out when Foster attended classes for just three days in 1956 and was later removed from campus due to riots and threats against her life.”

She earned a master’s degree in education from UA in 1991, more than 35 years after attending her first class.

“A native of Shiloh, her dismissal from 1956 was officially annulled in 1988, paving the way for her return to campus. She would re-enroll at UA with her daughter, Grazia, and the two would graduate together, with Lucy Foster earning a master’s degree in elementary education,” the press release stated.

“It’s truly a privilege to award Mrs. Foster with an honorary degree from The University of Alabama,” said UA President Stuart R. Bell. “Her tenacious spirit, gracious heart for helping others and unfailing belief in the value of education and human rights positions Mrs. Foster as a meaningful example of what one can achieve in the face of adversity.”


The University of the State of Alabama

In 1818, the federal government authorized Alabama Territory to set aside a township for the establishment of a "seminary of learning." President Monroe signed the enabling act for statehood on March 2, 1819 and Alabama was officially admitted to the Union on Dec. 14, 1819, and a second township added to the grant. On December 18, 1820, the seminary was established officially and named "The University of the State of Alabama."

The University Finds a Home

Tuscaloosa, then the state's capital, chosen as the University's home.

UA Opens

Inaugural ceremonies for the University were held on April 12, 1831. The first students were enrolled on April 18, 1831. By May 28, 52 students had enrolled. The campus consisted of seven buildings: two faculty houses, two dormitories, the laboratory, the hotel (now Gorgas House), and the Rotunda.

Engineering at UA

The University of Alabama becomes the first in the state to offer engineering classes. It was one of the first five in the nation to do so and one of the few to have maintained accreditation continuously since national accreditation began in 1936.

President's Mansion

President's Mansion completed. Its first occupant: Basil Manly, University president from 1837 to 1855.


Total University enrollment: 63

Phi Beta Kappa

Alabama Alpha chapter of Phi Beta Kappa established.


Total University enrollment: 126

Medical College

Medical College branch of the University opened in Mobile.

UA Becomes Military School

The University of Alabama became a military school — martial departmental and disciplinary systems established.


Total University enrollment: 154

UA Burned by Union Troops

Union troops spared only seven of the buildings on the UA campus. Of the principal buildings remaining today, the President's Mansion and its outbuildings still serve as the president's on-campus residence. The other buildings have new uses. Gorgas House, at different times the dining hall, faculty residence, and campus hotel, now serves as a museum. The Roundhouse, then a sentry box for cadets, later a place for records storage, is a campus historical landmark. The Observatory, now Maxwell Hall, is home to the Computer-Based Honors Program.


The Medical College reopens in Mobile.

UA Reopens

During the Reconstruction era, a reorganized University opened to students.


Total University enrollment: 107

UA Law School

The School of Law established.

Civil Engineering

Antecedents of the UA College of Engineering were established with the offering of a formal, two-year course of study in civil engineering under the aegis of applied mathematics in 1837. The College of Engineering was established in 1909 with the opening of B. B. Comer Hall.


Total University enrollment: 154


Total University enrollment: 167

First Football Team

The University's first football team assembled — the "Thin Red Line" that later became the "Crimson Tide."

First Female Students

The first women students enrolled for the fall semester at the University. This was due in large part to the successful lobbying of the UA board of trustees by Julia S. Tutwiler. Tutwiler, then president of the Livingston Normal College for Girls, was a lifelong advocate of the right of women to be self-supporting members of society.

The Crimson White

The student newspaper, the Crimson White, makes its first appearance.


Total University enrollment: 396

Military System Abandoned

In March, the Alabama Legislature decreed that, after thirty years of student protest, the military system of organization at the University be abandoned.

Summer School

A summer school for teachers begun in response to a need for better public education in Alabama, becoming the School of Education in 1909. The College of Education was established in 1929.

Greater University Fund

At the University's diamond jubilee celebration, President John William Abercrombie presented to the board of trustees his plans for the Greater University fund-raising campaign, thus ensuring that the state legislature would no longer be the primary source for financing the University's growth.

College of Engineering and School of Education

To meet the demands for specific training in two professions, the College of Engineering and the School of Education were established. Formerly part of the liberal arts disciplines, these new offspring would function independently of the now-reorganized College of Arts and Sciences.

Alabama Museum of Natural History

The Alabama Museum of Natural History in Smith Hall dedicated. Smith Hall served as a geological museum for the University's growing collections and still houses the Museum today.


Total University enrollment: 571

Dr. George Denny

Dr. George Denny became University president the campus consisted of 652 students and nine principal buildings. His presidency began an era of unprecedented physical and enrollment growth. When he retired in 1936, there were more than 5,000 students and 23 major buildings, which form the central core of the modern campus.

University Band

University band organized.

School of Commerce

The School of Commerce founded. It became the College of Commerce and Business Administration in 1929. It was renamed the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration in 1997.

Medical College Moves

The Medical College moved from Mobile to Tuscaloosa.


Total University enrollment: 2134

Graduate School

The Graduate School officially established.

Denny Chimes

Denny Chimes dedicated. Named for Dr. George H. Denny, president of the University from 1912 to 1936.

School of Home Economics

The School of Home Economics officially established. It became the College of Human Environmental Sciences in 1987.


Total University enrollment: 4,639


Moundville Archaeological Park and its museum opened to the public.


Total University enrollment: 4,921

Medical College Moves to Birmingham

The Medical College moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham.

University Press

The University Press was formed.

Doctoral Programs

Introduction of doctoral programs authorized first doctorates awarded in 1952.


Total University enrollment: 5,269

Autherine J. Lucy

UA's first African-American student, Autherine J. Lucy, was admitted. She was expelled three days later "for her own safety" in response to threats from a mob. In 1992 Autherine Lucy Foster graduated from the University with a master's degree in education. The same day, her daughter, Grazia Foster, graduated with a bachelor's degree in corporate finance.


Total University enrollment: 8,257

Vivian Malone and James Hood

The first sustained enrollment of African-American students at UA — Vivian J. Malone and James A. Hood — was achieved. Vivian Malone graduated in 1965. James Hood returned to campus in 1995 and received a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies in 1997.

School of Social Work

The School of Social Work established.

Computer-Based Honors Program

The Computer-Based Honors Program, in which undergraduate students apply computer technology to research in a wide range of fields, was established.

Graduate School of Library Service Established

The Graduate School of Library Service established by act of the Alabama Legislature. It became the School of Library and Information Studies in 1989. The School merged with the College of Communication in 1997 to become the College of Communication and Information Sciences.

New College

New College established to allow students to pursue individualized courses of study while maintaining the academic standards of the University.

College of Community Health Sciences

The College of Community Health Sciences established.


Total University enrollment: 13.055

School of Communication

The School of Communication established. It became the College of Communication in 1988, and when it merged with the School of Information Sciences, was renamed the College of Communication and Information Sciences in 1997.

College of Nursing

The Capstone College of Nursing established.


The University celebrates its sesquicentennial.


Total University enrollment: 16,388

College of Continuing Studies

The College of Continuing Studies established to provide "learning opportunities that transcend the barriers of distance, time, and accessibility &hellip (and) education in the technology-based formats that non-traditional learners need, offering courses by satellite, videotape, and the Internet." Its roots reach back to the Summer School for teachers in 1904, becoming the Extension Division in 1919. In the 1970s it was called Extended Services, then the Division of Continuing Education.

M.F.A Program in Book Arts

The M.F.A. Program in Book Arts, with specializations in printing and binding, is established within the School of Library and Information Studies. It is one of only three in the country to offer such an M.F.A. and the only one do so within the context of a library school.

Honors Program

University Honors Program established.


The University's computerized library card catalog, AMELIA, available for use.


Total University enrollment: 19,366

RISE Program

The Stallings Center opened as the new home of the RISE Program.

Blount Undergraduate Initiative

Blount Undergraduate Initiative established. (First freshman class accepted in 1999.)

Second Capital Campaign

Second Capital Campaign concluded having raised a total amount $224 million in gifts and pledges.

International Honors Program

International Honors Program established.

Rise of Dallas

Modeled on UA's RISE Program, the RISE School of Dallas, Texas, opened.

Bryant-Denny Renovations

Renovation of Bryant-Denny Stadium completed, increasing capacity to 82,000.

Student Services Center

Student Services Center completed.

Sewell-Thomas Field

Renovation of Sewell-Thomas Baseball Field to a capacity of 6,000 seats begun.

First Freshman Class in Blount Undergraduate Initiative

First freshman class accepted in Blount Undergraduate Initiative. Parker Adams Hall serves as its temporary headquarters.

UA's 15th Rhodes Scholar

English major Bradley Tuggle from Decatur, Ala., named UA's 15th Rhodes Scholar.

Oliver-Barnard Hall Dedication

Historic Barnard Hall rededicated as Oliver-Barnard Hall, the first of two Blount Undergraduate Initiative academic houses.

UA Softball Complex

Construction of 1,500-seat UA Softball Complex completed.

Blount Living-Center Opens

Blount Living-Learning Center opens to its first resident class.

Construction of Alabama Institute for Manufacturing Excellence (AIME) completed.

Morgan Auditorium Reopens

Morgan Auditorium reopens after $1 million renovation, the first since its construction in 1911.

UA Alumnus Pilots Shuttle

UA alumnus Lieutenant Colonel Jim Kelly pilots a Discovery space shuttle mission.

Top Rankings for UA School of Law

For the third consecutive year, the UA School of Law ranked among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Alabama-Auburn Alliance

UA and Auburn University form the "Alabama-Auburn Alliance" to support fair funding of higher education.

Tide Navigator

Tide Navigator, a web-based registration system that is the first of its kind in the United States, debuts with incoming freshmen.


Total University enrollment: 19,633

UA Alumni Association establishes FATE: Future Alumni for Tradition and Excellence.

Crimson Tradition Fund

Crimson Tradition Fund established with $10 million gift by Paul Bryant Jr.

UA in Top Fifty

UA named one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2003.

First Honors Student of the Year

UA student Kana Ellis of Northport, Ala., selected as as the first recipient of the Honors Student of the Year Award by the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC)

College of Community Health Sciences Breaks Ground

College of Community Health Sciences breaks ground for its $12.6 million facility, designed to consolidate all services and operations of the Tuscaloosa medical campus.

Math Technology Learning Center

Greensboro East High School, in collaboration with UA, became the first high school in Alabama to establish a state-of-the-art Math Technology Learning Center.

Five UA Students Named to the All-USA College Academic Team

Five students from UA named to the 2003 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. UA students garnered the most awards of any college or university, claiming five of 83 spots on the list.

Opening Doors

UA recognized 40 "pioneers" during three days of events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Gov. George C. Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door."

UA Named named in Top 50

UA named one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2004.

UA Student Selected as Portz Scholar

UA senior Rob Davis selected as one of three 2003 Portz Scholars in the National Collegiate Honors Council's competition for outstanding undergraduate Honors papers.


Total University enrollment: 20,333

Four UA Students Named to the All-USA College Academic Team

Four UA students named to the 2004 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. UA came in second only to Harvard for 2004, and UA's two-year total of nine leads the nation.

University Medical Center

University Medical Center, UA's new multi-specialty clinic and home of the College of Community Health Sciences, opened on May 11.

Shelby Hall Dedication

Shelby Hall, UA's new 200,000-plus square foot interdisciplinary transportation and science complex, dedicated on May 14.

UA Named named in Top 50

UA named one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for 2005.


Five UA students Named to All-USA College Academic Team

Five UA students named to the 2005 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team, the most of any school in the nation. UA's three-year total of 14 also tops all other colleges and universities.

Paul R. Jones Collection

Renowned art collector Paul R. Jones donated a $4.8 million art collection to UA. The 1,700-piece collection includes one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of 20th century African American art in the world.

UA Alerts

To improve crisis communications and enhance safety of the UA community, a new technological resource, UA Alerts, was installed. The system simultaneously sends alerts to cell phones, home and office phones, and emails and texts.


Total University enrollment: 28,807 total enrollment, an increase of 6.5 percent over 2008. Enrollment at UA increased 47 percent over 2002.

Bryce Hospital Agreement

UA reached an agreement with the state Mental Health Commission to purchase the Bryce Hospital property.

Grant Activity up 18 Percent

The University’s contract and grant activity increased 18 percent from the previous year, totaling $76 million—a significant step in furthering UA’s commitment to advancing its position as one of the premier research universities in the nation.

The Alabama Museum of Natural History Centennial

The Alabama Museum of Natural History in Smith Hall celebrated its centennial.

Undergraduate Welcome Center

Undergraduate Admissions opened a welcome center located on the Bryant Drive side of Bryant-Denny Stadium, under the south end zone.

Tornado Hits Tuscaloosa

On April 27 a tornado ravaged parts of Tuscaloosa but missed the campus. Graduation was cancelled and the semester ended early.

UA Ranked in Top 50 Again

UA was again ranked among the top 50 public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Robert Witt Named New Chancellor

UA President Robert E. Witt was named chancellor of the University of Alabama system Provost Judy Bonner became interim president.

Dr. Guy Bailey Becomes UA President

Dr. Guy Bailey accepted the presidency, but resigned the same year due to his wife’s illness.

First Female President

Dr. Judy Bonner became the first woman president of the Capstone.

Through the Doors

Through the Doors, a year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the Capstone, engaged all areas of the University.


Total University enrollment: 34,852, a record for total enrollment 6,478 in the entering freshmen class, the largest in UA history.


Total University enrollment tops 36,000.

The Cyber Institute

The Cyber Institute, which facilitates interdisciplinary research and educational programs related to cyber security and cyber-related technologies, was founded.

UA Smoke-Free

UA became a smoke-free campus.

Bryce Renovation Begins

Renovation and expansion began on the main buildings of the Peter Bryce campus.

29th President Named

Dr. Stuart Bell became the 29th president of the Capstone.

National Champions

The Crimson Tide defeated Clemson 45-40 to win its 16th national football championship.

Strategic Plan

The UA Strategic Plan: Advancing the Flagship was announced.


Fall 2016 enrollment reached a record 37,665, with 7,559 freshmen in the most academically talented class to date.

Adapted Athletics Facility

Groundbreaking for construction of first-of-its kind Adapted Athletics Facility.


Total University enrollment: Record-breaking 38,563.


UA earned another national football championship beating Georgia in overtime 26-23.

Doctoral Universities

Very High Research Activity status achieved.

Tuscaloosa Bicentennial Celebration

Collaboration with the city of Tuscaloosa to celebrate its bicentennial, including presenting the city with a statue of Minerva, goddess of wisdom

Fulbright Scholars

Recognized as Top Producing Institution for Fulbright U.S. Student Award for fourth time


The Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State 52-24 to become national champions.

Part of the University of Alabama System

University Of Alabama’s Sororities Still Resist Integrating

A version of the following originally appeared on Inside Eau Claire.

That was the response from an auditorium of 200 University of Alabama Kappa Delta sorority members who, this past fall, were called together to freely and openly discuss ongoing racial diversity issues within their chapter and the campus Greek system as a whole.

Standing before the podium, UA senior and fellow Kappa Delta sister Kirkland Back scanned the assembly for raised hands. Two minutes had passed, Back said, and there wasn&rsquot a gesture in sight. Dead air filled the room.

From the back of the auditorium came a sudden voice of dissent: &ldquoCan we just fucking leave?&rdquo

The outburst, shouted by a senior sorority member, spurred enough chaotic uproar to halt the conversation and send everyone out the door. Questions were left unanswered, the status quo unchallenged.

&ldquoThe whole university is in turmoil, the state is in turmoil, we&rsquore the shit mark on the entire country, and they wanted to leave,&rdquo recalled Back, Honors Association president and the Kappa Delta member elected to spearhead the diversity initiatives within the chapter.

Now, nearly seven months following allegations of systemic racial discrimination in the Greek system, the dust of the conflict has settled, but sororities remain largely segregated with little evidence of substantive change. And despite a campus with a history of repeated injustice, not everybody wants to be the first test case for equality.

UA sophomore Khortlan Patterson, a black woman from Houston, was offered multiple bids to join Alabama&rsquos traditionally white Panhellenic sororities but turned them down. &ldquoI don&rsquot want to pay $6,000 a year to get criticized and ostracized,&rdquo Patterson said. &ldquoI don&rsquot want to pay money to be a part of that.&rdquo

Instead, Patterson pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first historically African-American sorority. She considered joining a Panhellenic chapter in order to push change from the inside, but ultimately, Patterson decided it would have been more of a trial than an opportunity.

&ldquoNo one&rsquos going to say flat out, &lsquoYou can&rsquot hang out with us because we don&rsquot consider you to be our sister.&rsquo But I think that in their actions it would probably be communicated in that way.&rdquo

Pointing to the Kappa Delta meeting as a prime example, Back said many freshman and sophomore sorority women lack the infrastructure, or access to infrastructure, to even voice their opinions at all.

&ldquoWhen you come to campus and pledge a sorority at 18 years old, what are you going to do? What are you going to say, who do you even talk to? Because nobody around you &mdash even if they are having the same fears and thoughts &mdash is going to say anything,&rdquo Back said. &ldquoThere is a strong sense of &lsquoThere&rsquos nothing you can do about it.&rsquo&rdquo

The short-lived gathering came in the wake of a controversy that, once again, put the University of Alabama in the national news spotlight: In September, the school&rsquos student newspaper reported that at least four of the 16 traditionally white sororities denied pledge bids to two black women during formal August recruitment.

Melanie Gotz, a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, became a whistleblower when she came forward with the allegations, detailing the case of one African-American student who was rejected, one by one, from all 16 Panhellenic sororities.

The recruit, who refused to be interviewed for this story, graduated salutatorian of her high school class with a 4.3 GPA and is the granddaughter of a member of the UA Board of Trustees.

The problem, as many sorority members tell it, stems from powerful alumnae stuck on preserving the tradition of their all-white sororities &mdash even if that means threatening to withhold donations and other financial assistance.

&ldquoPeople are too scared of what the repercussions are of maybe taking a black girl,&rdquo Gotz told The Crimson White. &ldquoThat&rsquos stupid, but who&rsquos going to be the one to make that jump? How much longer is it going to take till we have a black girl in a sorority?&rdquo

That question burned in the minds of many eager to tackle enduring racial segregation on the Southern campus.

News broke of the charges and media coverage was loud and immediate. The morning after The Crimson White ran the story, CNN was on the UA campus in Tuscaloosa attempting to interview Greek members.

&ldquoAnywhere I walked on campus there were reporters on the side of the road trying to get people to say stuff,&rdquo said Mariah Wnuk, a senior transfer student who isn&rsquot affiliated with a sorority but who &ldquo[doesn&rsquot] have a single friend who is not in Greek.&rdquo

Abiding by a strict no-media policy enforced by their chapters, the majority of sorority women declined to comment on the situation. Other students, faculty, and alumni spoke out against discrimination and expressed dissatisfaction with the UA administration, which waited two days before issuing a statement acknowledging the allegations.

Then, on Sept. 16, following an emergency meeting with UA President Judy Bonner, the Alabama Panhellenic Association announced a mandatory policy: In an effort to increase diversity, each Panhellenic sorority would reopen the bidding process to any new members, whether they had participated in formal recruitment or not.

Four days later, Bonner released a video statement with news: 14 bids had been extended to minority women, six of which had been accepted. Victory bells rang out a historical barrier had been broken.

A well-known diversity advocate within her chapter, Back was elected Continuous Open Bidding director for Kappa Delta. Two weeks later, she quit the position.

&ldquoIt was the most miserable thing I&rsquove been through in my entire life,&rdquo she said. &ldquoI was honestly being a glutton for punishment by sticking with that position. Nobody in Kappa Delta was going to budge about pledging a minority.&rdquo

In accordance with Continuous Open Bidding, Kappa Delta welcomed 16 new young women in the fall and seven in the spring. None of the women are black, Back said.

&ldquoI think the way they got around that was somebody might have claimed they were one-fourth Vietnamese,&rdquo Back said. &ldquoBut it&rsquos not like we have a black girl, someone from the Middle East, or someone who&rsquos clearly not from suburban white America.&rdquo

The quiet history of how ASU shaped the civil rights movement


It's difficult to identify a historic civil rights moment in central Alabama that doesn't have a tie to Alabama State University. Here's a look at some of the lesser-known leaders of the movement who either taught at or attended Alabama State.

From left, unidentified man, Timothy May, unidentified man, Dorothy Frazier, Ralph Abernathy, James Forman, Martin Luther King Jr., Jessie Davis and John Lewis lead marchers in the Selma-to-Montgomery march on March 17, 1965. The man on the far left of the front row of marchers wears an Alabama State shirt. (Photo: Contributed by Alabama State University)

It’s hard, maybe impossible, to identify an iconic moment in civil rights history that doesn’t somehow have a tie to Alabama State University. Like a thumbprint invisible to the naked eye, the university left its mark on each protest, march and sit-in that happened during the civil rights movement.

Those marks aren’t always obvious from the outset. It's the student wearing an Alabama State shirt, linked arms with a row of people that includes The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as they move forward in the Selma-to-Montgomery march. It's Fred Gray, a famed civil rights attorney and Alabama State graduate, quietly taking notes in the background of a congressional hearing related to civil rights.

It’s only upon closer examination that the institution’s influence upon civil rights can be understood, and the way the university celebrates that history realized.

The university’s roots travel back, at least, to the 1940s when F.D. Reese was getting his undergraduate degree in science from what at the time was known as Alabama State College for Negroes.

“Of course, we would always be connected with the science building, and always in that building were people who were connected to the civil rights movement. That was the reason I was so concerned about the movement, being close to those persons who were connected (with the civil rights movement) in the science department,” Reese recalled.

His professors were always asking students what their stance on civil rights issues were, pushing them to form opinions about what they were experiencing.

Reese went on to become a leader in the movement, and is known for inviting King to come help with Selma’s voting rights efforts.

Jo Ann Robinson (Photo: Contributed by Alabama State University)

“We felt the need for Selma and Dallas County to have the leadership of Dr. King. My responsibility as the president of the Dallas County Voters league was to invite him to come to Selma and to assist us in our quest for the right to vote. I did that and I guess the rest is history now,” said Reese, a 1951 graduate.

In the 1950s, professor Jo Ann Robinson used the university’s mimeograph machine to run off thousands of fliers letting people know to stay off the buses on the day of Rosa Parks’ trial, triggering the historic boycott.

People like Vera Harris, who later graduated from Alabama State, helped pass the fliers out on campus, putting the words of the movement in as many hands as she could. Harris and her husband later opened up their home to the 1961 Freedom Riders who underwent severe beating when they arrived in Montgomery.

In the days leading up to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Gray sat in Robinson’s living room and planned for what would happen after the boycott started.

Gray and Robinson talked about how to get Rosa Parks exonerated, how to get the laws that allowed for her arrest declared unconstitutional and how to get the community involved in a boycott.

They knew they needed to plan a meeting with local ministers about getting congregations involved if they wanted to mobilize the masses.

“Jo Ann said, ‘Well, when we get through with the meeting I’m going to prepare a leaflet. This leaflet is going to say: Another black woman has been arrested,’” Gray recalled. “Then we said if we’re going to do that than we’re going to need a spokesman, and she said that her pastor would be a good spokesman.”

In 1960 on the steps of the Capitol, hundreds of Alabama State students gathered to protest the expulsion of those who were expelled for staging a sit-in at the Montgomery County Courthouse. (Photo: Contributed by Alabama State University)

Robinson then pulled in her pastor, King, to help organize the boycott.

Gray would go on to successfully litigate Parks’ case, and a host of other historic cases that desegregated the South, including filing a federal lawsuit that forced state officials to allow the Selma-to-Montgomery march to take place.

And before the Selma-to-Montgomery marchers arrived in Montgomery, Alabama State student Richard Boone rallied roughly 800 students to meet them before they arrived at St. Jude, and complete the final leg of the march to the Capitol.

Five years before that historic march when ASU students organized a sit-in at Montgomery County Courthouse, Gray filed federal lawsuits that shaped not only desegregation, but paved the way for college students to be afforded due process rights as well as strengthened libel laws.

Gray, now 86 and still practicing law, recently sat in his Tuskegee law office and summarized the role his alma mater played in the civil rights movement.

“To make a long story short, Alabama State has been involved in all of the civil rights activities that have come out of central Alabama,” said Gray, who is also a 1951 graduate from Alabama State.

Alabama State students who were expelled for staging a sit-in at the Montgomery County Courthouse. Fred Gray later filed suit on their behalf and won, which established due process rights for students across the country. (Photo: Contributed by Alabama State University)

But decades after the Voting Rights Act passed, after federal courts ordered schools to be desegregated and after blacks were legally allowed to sit next to whites on buses, discrimination still plagued ASU.

The university became party to a federal suit filed in 1981 alleging that the state’s property tax system were originally enacted to discriminate against blacks, causing the university to lose out on funding and forcing them to raise tuition.

After at least 14 years of litigation, U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy sided with the plaintiffs, finding that the state’s policies violated the Constitution, and ordered a litany of changes to these policies.

The legal battle fought and won on behalf of students calls to mind Reese’s mentality while he was fighting for civil rights on ASU’s campus.

“We wanted to make sure that skin color would not determine the way a person would be treated,” Reese said. “And we were willing to give whatever necessary to do away with discrimination based on the color of a person’s skin.”

And though this history, both recent and decades-old, has been heavily celebrated by ASU, the university has lately taken a more organic approach to commemorating its roots.

“I suppose what we try to do around here is to make Black History Month longer than a month. It’s elongated. It’s not difficult to do on our campus because our campus was sort of the crucible of black history,” said Derryn Moten, department chair of history and political science at ASU.

Remembering black history is now more of a culture than it is an event.

“For us, it’s more of this odyssey of black people in this country, and that odyssey is not just their odyssey,” Moten said. “It’s the odyssey of the United States, and so how these events shaped and changed our country.”

Watch the video: Racist White Shoppers (January 2022).