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Florence in Lauderdale County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

A More Inclusive Era

 
 
A More Inclusive Era Marker (Front) image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, September 27, 2020
1. A More Inclusive Era Marker (Front)
Inscription.  African Americans, through enslavement and Jim Crow, constructed campus buildings and worked at the University of North Alabama since its beginnings in 1830, yet they were denied admission as students for 133 years. In 1963, Wendell Wilkie Gunn integrated the school (then Florence State College). Though Gunn too was initially denied admission under Alabama law, President E.B. Norton advised him to sue in Federal court, thus overturning state law and allowing the college to admit him.

Rear
While President Norton visited departments across campus and stressed the importance of complete integration when Gunn first began attending the college, it took years for that to come to fruition. Despite these challenges. African American students slowly integrated academic clubs, the choir, and ROTC. In 1968, the university became the first predominantly white institution in the state to play African American football players, among the first being Bobby Joe Pride. Gene Stoval, and Leonard Thomas. By 1974, African American students made up approximately five percent of the total student population.
 
Erected by

A More Inclusive Era Marker (rear) image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, September 27, 2020
2. A More Inclusive Era Marker (rear)
Florence Historical Board.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsEducation.
 
Location. 34° 48.449′ N, 87° 40.724′ W. Marker is in Florence, Alabama, in Lauderdale County. Marker can be reached from Cramer Way. Marker is in front of Bibb-Graves Hall and Harrison Plaza. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 601 Cramer Way, Florence AL 35630, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Locust Dell Academy (a few steps from this marker); George H. Carroll Lion Habitat (within shouting distance of this marker); T.S. Stribling Literary Landmark (within shouting distance of this marker); T.S. Stribling 1903 (within shouting distance of this marker); Florence State Teachers College Heroes of World War II (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 1st Lt. Chadwick McFall Barber (about 300 feet away); World War I Memorial Amphitheater (about 400 feet away); World War I Memorial Trees (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florence.
 
More about this marker. The marker contains a QR code that can be scanned for more information on integration at the university. (Link below)
 
Also see . . .  A More Inclusive Era Project. More details about the integration of UNA. A joint effort of UNA, the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area and the Florence Historical Board. (Submitted on September 28, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.)
Marker in front of Bibb-Graves Hall. image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, September 27, 2020
3. Marker in front of Bibb-Graves Hall.
 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 28, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 42 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 28, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
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Oct. 28, 2020