Statue of former slave who founded Alabama A&M now stands in downtown Huntsville

Statue of former slave who founded Alabama A&M now stands in downtown Huntsville
William Hooper Councill statue revealed in downtown Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - City leaders came together Wednesday afternoon to unveil the new statue of William Hooper Councill in downtown Huntsville.

Councill was a former slave who founded Alabama A&M University in 1867. Back then it was known as William Hooper Council High School, the first public school for African Americans in Huntsville.

The statue was placed in Councill High Memorial Park which opened in October of this year. Only a few may know that the grounds belonged to the council school during segregation.

“It was a place African American children could get an education,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “It was here that they were welcomed, nurtured and many excelled. And today this beautiful park memorializes the legacy of educators and the students who learned not only to dream of a better future, but to claim that future for their own.”

Councill was born in 1848 on a plantation in North Carolina. Later in his life he was brought to Alabama where he was sold as a slave.

By the end of the Civil War, Councill was free and ready to leave his mark on the world.

In 1875, he founded Alabama A&M to educate other former slaves like himself.

Joseph Lee, Director of AAMU Community Development Corporation, once said, “If you really look at the history of African Americans in the state of Alabama in particular, you cannot leave Councill out.”

Of course, if you would like to visit that new work of art, just take a stroll downtown.

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