This collection highlights the incredible faculty and staff of Alabama State University. Because of our incredible faculty and staff, their tremendous talent, skills, and Hornet Pride, ASU has and will continue to be an exceptional university.
As a faculty member and administrator at Alabama State University, Dr. Freeman initiated and directed the implementation of a number of programs in the University College for freshman students, including the academic support centers in writing, mathematics, speech, history, and geography; interdisciplinary humanities courses; writing across the curriculum; and the freshman honors program. She served on numerous university committees and served as an adviser to several students’ organizations; among these was secretary and chair of the Faculty Senate, Faculty Marshal, and advisor to the Student Media Board. She was also a plaintiff in the historic Knight v. James/Knight v. Alabama Desegregation Lawsuit which proved that Alabama’s long history of segregation had adversely affected post-secondary educational opportunities of African American citizens.
Mary Fair Burks was an American educator, scholar, and civil rights activist from Montgomery, Alabama. She was head of the English department at Alabama State College in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1946, she founded the Women’s Political Council (WPC), an organization that promoted civic involvement, helped increase voter registration, and lobbied city officials to address racist policies. In 1955-56, she and other WPC members helped initiate and provide support for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Alabama State University played an integral role in the Civil Rights Movement. The actions of ASU's faculty and staff were essential in energizing the Movement.
Ralph David Abernathy was a leader in the modern American Civil Rights Movement, a minister and close associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Following King’s assassination, Dr. Abernathy accepted the leadership of the SCLC Poor People’s Campaign and led the March on Washington in the District of Columbia (D.C.) that had been planned for May 1968.
Ralph David Abernathy was born on March 11, 1926 to W.L. Abernathy and Louivery Bell Abernathy on a farm in Linden, Alabama. He attended Linden Academy, a Baptist School founded by the First Mt. Pleasant District Association. He was financially supported by his father. At Linden Academy, Abernathy led his first demonstration, to protest the inferior science laboratory and as a result of his persistent actions. After graduation he enrolled at Alabama State College. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1948 and in 1950 he received a Bachelor’s Degree in mathematics from Alabama State College.
Aurelia Shines Browder Coleman (January 29, 1919-February 4, 1971). Teacher, Seamstress, Civil Rights Activist. She completed high school in her thirties and eventually earned a BS degree in science from Alabama State University. She graduated with honors and was inducted into Alpha Kappa Mu, the honor society.
While at ASU, Browder became acquainted with Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, a professor in the English Department who inspired her to participate in the lawsuit then proposed by the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA).
Rev. Richard Charles Boone (July 7, 1937-October 14, 2013). Civil Rights Activist, Minister. He attended Lab High at Alabama State Teachers’ College and joined the Air Force before graduating at the age of 16. Rev. Boone later earned his GED and enrolled at Alabama State University, majoring in political science and history. After graduation, Boone attended Phillip’s Theological Seminary in Atlanta, obtaining a master’s degree in theology.
Boone became a field secretary for the SCLC. On March 24, 1965, Rev. Boone led a group of 800 mostly high school and college students from Alabama State University to West Montgomery to join 25,000 marchers who had completed their five-day protest march from Selma. Boone’s civil rights efforts didn’t end with the Selma March, and he fought on behalf of African-American rights, mostly at the local level, for the rest of his life. Boone established the Alabama Action Committee and focused its efforts in Montgomery, where he staged protests against local businesses, demanding African Americans be included in the workforce.
Beyond Civil Rights causes, other individuals have represented ASU well.
Representative John Knight, retired Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Alabama State University, was elected in 1993 to the Alabama State House of Representatives. He was born on June 7, 1952, and is the father of two, Tamara and Tehrik. Representative Knight received his B.S., with Honors, in Business Administration from Alabama State University and holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Alabama A&M University.
He serves on the Board of Directors for the Kershaw YMCA, the Montgomery Housing Authority, the Montgomery Improvement Association, the Southern Development Council, Inc., and the Cleveland Avenue YMCA. Additionally, he is the Chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Conference.
He is widely known as being the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit (Knight v. State of Alabama) over state funding and racial fairness. This case involved how the state of Alabama funded its two state-funded black universities Alabama State University and Alabama A&M University.
Conecuh County native Joe L. Reed is the Associate Executive Secretary of the Alabama Education Association, one of the most powerful public interest groups in Alabama.
Joe Reed served a tour of duty in the U. S. Army in Korea. He graduated from Alabama State University, where he was President of the Junior Class and President of the Student Body. He holds a Masters Degree from Case Western Reserve University in political science. Alabama State University conferred the Honorary Doctor of Law Degree on him in 1980.
Reed is past Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Alabama State University. By driving through the campus, one can see evidence of his leadership: the C. J. Dunn Towers, the Acadome, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dormitory, the Bessie Estell Dormitory, the Olean Black Underwood 12-court tennis complex, and the acquisition of Bel Air and other areas which doubled the size of the campus in Montgomery; and the purchase of Southern Normal School in Brewton, Alabama, added an additional 400 acres--just to name a few of his accomplishments.
Reed is also the primary donor of the Alabama State Teachers Association (ASTA) and the Alabama Democratic Conference (ADC) Collections currently being processed into the Alabama State University Archives.
Thad McClammy is the Alabama 76 District Democratic representative in Montgomery. He is originally from Beatrice, Alabama, and received his Bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University in 1966. He also received his Vocational and Adult Education degree from Auburn University Montgomery in 1975.
He has served on several religious and civic committees. His professional experiences include real estate broker, City of Montgomery, Trenholm State Technical College, and Tots and Teens Incorporated. He now owns Capitol Realty.
Ross Dunn was a Chambers County Commissioner. He was 73 when he died. He was one of Alabama State University’s first Trustees when it formed in 1976, and he served until 1991. During his 15 years on the board, he was instrumental in securing donations for the university’s $1.5 million "Endowment of Excellence” drive.
Alumnus and member of the Alabama State Legislature, representing the 78th District, Alvin Holmes received a BS, Alabama State University, LLD, Jones School of Law, MA, Alabama State University, M.Ed., Alabama State University, O.I.C., University of Pennsylvania.
He is the father of a daughter, Veronica. Holmes is a licensed real estate broker and a college educator. He is a member of the Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church, the State Democratic Executive Committee, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Montgomery Improvement Association, and NAACP.
(April 21, 1983 – April 12, 2020) Tavaris Jackson was born and reared in Montgomery, Alabama, and graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery in 2001. Jackson then enrolled at the University of Arkansas Razorbacks football team as a freshman but suffered a season-ending injury.
In 2003, Jackson transferred to Alabama State University and led the Hornets to an 8-5 record, a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Eastern Division title, and a berth in the SWAC Championship Game. He completed 160 of 316 passes for 2,342 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions and rushed 444 yards on 91 carries including 5 touchdowns. As a junior in 2004, Jackson won SWAC Championship MVP in Alabama State’s second 10-win season in school history. With 11 starts in 12 games, Jackson completed 182 of 349 passes for 2, 556 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions, rushed in 65 carries for 253 yards and 3 touchdowns, and was sacked 10 times for 97 yards lost.
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