Praying on Courthouse Steps
In early 1962, leaders from the African-American community gather to pray on the steps of the Madison County Courthouse, in some of the first visible steps toward an organized civil rights movement in Huntsville. In black coat is Rev. Ezekiel Bell, lady is Ms. Clara Ward Davis.
Sno-White 1955
The Sno-White lunch counter as it looked in 1955. Sno-White would be one of the businesses frequented by sit-inners in early 1962.
Woolworth's Jan 31 1962
Early sit-ins at the Woolworth's lunch counter.
Woolworths Jan 31 1962
Early sit-ins at the Woolworth's lunch counter.
G.C. Murphy's sit-ins
Early sit-ins took place at the G.C. Murphy's lunch counter.
G.C. Murphy's Jan 31 1962
Early sit-ins took place at the G.C. Murphy's lunch counter.
Woolworths Jan 31 1962
A group of young men prepare to sit-in at the Woolworth's lunch counter in early 1962.
Sit-ins
A young woman tries to keep to herself as she participates in early sit-ins in Huntsville in 1962.
Sit-ins, note CORE armband
Sit-in organizer Hank Thomas sports an armband noting his affiliation with C.O.R.E., the Congress of Racial Equality, which played an important role in training and preparing Huntsville activists to participate in sit-ins and other peaceful protests. Later this year, CORE would be banned from operating in the state of Alabama.
Woolworths Jan 31 1962
A sit-inner at the Woolworth's lunch counter in early 1962.
Sit-inners
Sit-inners at a Huntsville lunch counter in early 1962.
Huntsville Times
The Huntsville Times reports on early sit-ins and nonviolent protests in Huntsville, 1962.
Krystal N. Side Square 1955
This Krystal restaurant was on the north side of the square in downtown Huntsville, and saw many of the first sit-ins in the city in early 1962.
MLK speaks
The Community Services Committee brought Martin Luther King, Jr. to Huntsville in the spring of 1962 to speak and energize the population toward civil rights activism. He spoke to large groups at Oakwood College and First Baptist Church.
MLK Letter
This draft letter by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. references the situation in Huntsville during the period of his 1962 visit.
MLK and Sonnie
Dr. Sonnie Hereford III (left) with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during King's 1962 visit to Huntsville.
Stock Exchange Flyer
This flyer and others like it were distributed at the New York Stock Exchange and Midwest Stock Exchange by Alabama A&M alumni and other protestors from Huntsville, attempting to target the city's economic interests in their demands for equality.
John Cashin
Huntsville dentist Dr. John Cashin was an outspoken activist for civil rights in the state of Alabama.
Dr. Sonnie Hereford III
Dr. Sonnie Hereford III was one of the best-known civil rights pioneers in the city of Huntsville, having integrated 5th Avenue School with his son Sonnie IV.
MSFC entrance sign
JFK & Von Braun
Pres. John F. Kennedy visited Marshall Space Flight Center in May 1963, seen here speaking with Wernher von Braun.
Von Braun, JFK, LBJ at MSFC
Pres. John F. Kennedy's 1963 visit to Marshall Space Flight Center. Seen here with Wernher von Braun, Vice Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson, and Maj. Gen'l Medaris.
McGlathery enrolls
June 13, 1963, David McGlathery, a black mathematician working on Redstone Arsenal, enrolled at UAH without incident. Many feared that Governor Wallace would take a stand in Huntsville as he had in Tuscaloosa two days earlier and the National Guard 169th Combat Engineering Group was federalized in anticipation of a fight. McGlathery had no problems enrolling.
Robert Muckel
June 11, 1963: Robert Muckel, a 29-year-old white schoolteacher from Nebraska, was the first person to integrate a public educational institution in Alabama when he attended a summer science institute at Alabama A&M College. When Muckel applied for admission he did not realize that A&M was a historically black school and was surprised when he unintentionally broke a barrier in Alabama education.
State Troopers at School
State Troopers turn away a father and his daughter as they block integration at Huntsville city schools in September of 1963.
East Clinton School
On the day of attempted integration in September 1963, a student pulls his father through the line of State Troopers blocking East Clinton School by order of Governor George Wallace.
5th Ave School with state troopers
A father and son approach Fifth Avenue School on Governor's Drive, passing State Troopers whom Governor Wallace tasked with stopping school integration. September 1963.
New York Times, Sept. 7, 1963
The New York Times reports on Huntsville's attempts at school desegregation on September 7, 1963
New York Times, September 8, 1963
The New York Times reports on school integration in Huntsville, September 8, 1963.
Herefords enter school
Sonnie Hereford IV enters Fifth Avenue School with his father Dr. Sonnie Hereford III on September 9, 1963, after days of delays from Gov. George Wallace and State Troopers.
Unhappy woman at entrance
A mother voices her displeasure at school integration on the morning of September 9, 1963 as Veronica Pearson enters East Clinton School, succeeding after days of delays from Gov. George Wallace.
Veronica Pearson
East Clinton Veronica Pearson eats lunch on her first day in the integrated school, September 9, 1963.
Huntsville defies Wallace
Alabama Governor George Wallace reads about Huntsville's successful school integration. Wallace had delayed the city's schools in opening by several days, stationing State Troopers outside of the schools and provoking the ire of families & city leaders alike.
New York Times, September 11, 1963
The New York Times reports on school integration in Huntsville, September 11, 1963.
New York Times, September 10, 1963
The New York Times reports on Huntsville school integration, September 10, 1963.
NYT 9-10-63 (1)-page-001
Oakwood students at Selma
In March of 1965, students from Oakwood University traveled to Selma to support the Selma-to-Montgomery March.
Butler Student Protest
In October 1970, students from Butler High School gather at the Board of Education to protest the use of the Confederate Battle Flag and song "Dixie" in Butler High School insignia.
Butler Students Protest
In October 1970, Butler High students gather to support keeping the Confederate Battle Flag and song "Dixie" as their school flag & anthem.
Butler Students Protest
In October of 1970, Butler High students gather in support of keeping the Confederate Battle Flag and song "Dixie" as part of school iconography.
Big Spring Park, 1970s
A family enjoys Big Spring Park in the 1970s after successful integration of the public park.
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