From Marion to Montgomery

From Marion to Montgomery

The Early Years of Alabama State University, 1867-1925

Joseph Caver


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Alabama State University is well known as a historically black university and for the involvement of its faculty and students in the civil rights movement. Less attention has been paid to the school's remarkable origins, having begun as the Lincoln Normal School in Marion, Alabama, founded by nine former slaves. These men are rightly considered the progenitors of Alabama State University, as they had the drive and perseverance to face the challenges posed by a racial and political culture bent on preventing the establishment of black schools and universities. It is thanks to the actions of the Marion Nine that Alabama's rural Black Belt produces a disproportionate number of African American Ph.D. recipients, a testament to the vision of the Lincoln Normal School's founders. From Marion to Montgomery is the story of the Lincoln Normal School's transformation into the legendary Alabama State University, including the school's move to Montgomery in 1887 and evolution from Normal School to junior college to full-fledged four-year university. It's a story of visionary leadership, endless tenacity, and a true belief in the value of education.


Joseph Caver:
Joseph Caver is a former senior archivist at the Air Force Historical Research Agency at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama and current history lecturer at Alabama State University. He is the co-author of The Tuskegee Airmen, An Illustrated History: 1939–1949. Caver is also a contributor to the Air Power History Journal and was the 2011 recipient of the Major General I. B. Holley Award, recognizing significant contributions in the field of Air Force history. He received the 2010 Spirit of Marion Award from Alabama State University.