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R.I.P. James Hood, First Black Man to Enroll at The University of Alabama (Video)

I just learned that an often under-recognized civil rights figure has passed. My eternal respect and thanks to you, Mr. James Hood. Because of the courageous steps you and Vivian Malone took into Foster Auditorium long ago, I was allowed to walk the halls and earn two degrees from The University of Alabama decades later. Many of those young men who took the field to reclaim the NCAA Football Championship this year owe their right to do so to you and a faithful few who saw the battle for our civil rights through in those tough times.

R.I.P. Mr. Hood. Roll Tide!


Special thanks to Vkoot for the YouTube post embedded above. See bonus video that puts the clip above into perspective after the jump.

(Video: Courtesy NBC News)

Above we see then Alabama Governor George Wallace making his infamous ‘stand in the schoolhouse door’ to bar two Black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from registering for classes at The University of Alabama in 1963. Watch the entire clip. See what is happening. What is being ‘argued’ via grand press statements is actually a CIVIL WAR styled battle sans the bloodshed.

But think: Think of the two Black young adults in the car. No Black person had done what they are about to do; and the situation was so charged (e.g. potentially dangerous) that they needed FEDERAL ESCORT and, ultimately, the MILITARY to do what I (and many minority students) have taken for granted at The University since. This was (is) HUGE! And it is fitting that Mr. Hood have the last word in the clip in light of his recent passing. Rest In Power, Mr. James Hood; and thank you.

Below: The University of Alabama (football team, coach, and well-wishers), integrated, celebrating… at the White House! Witness what was made possible, in large part because Ms. Malone and Mr. Hood chose to stay in the battle, see it through, and go to class!

This was last year, of course, but no less poignant a moment. Black students at the White House, welcomed by the Black U.S. President, received by a crowd of Americans of all races. Your legacy, Mr. Hood. Well done.

James Hood x Vivian Malone (Photo: Courtesy ABC News)

Footnote: James Hood attended Governor Wallace’s funeral in 1998 to pay his respects. A class act: That was Mr. James Hood.

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