This Day in Black History: April 20, 2002

The University of Alabama publicly apologized for its history of slavery.

Posted: 04/20/2013 08:00 AM EDT

Nearly 140 years after the conclusion of the Civil War, the University of Alabama issued a formal apology on April 20, 2002, to the descendants of slaves who were owned by faculty members or who worked on the campus of the school.

In announcing the historic move that was approved by the university’s faculty senate, the school said it would erect a marker near the graves of two slaved buried on the campus. In addition, the university said it would place other markers on building where slaves once worked and lived.

Two university presidents and some faculty members on the Tuscaloosa campus owned slaves during the years before the Civil War, research by a university professor discovered. It was also determined that several of the oldest structures on campus contain bricks made by slaves.

The University of Alabama remained a segregated college until 1963, when the enrollment of Vivian Malone and James Hood, two African-American students became an international news story. Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace stood in the door of the administration building in a move to denounce the admission of the two Black students. The administration of President John F. Kennedy intervened and the students were ultimately admitted.

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(Photo: Courtesy of The University of Alabama)

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