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ASU celebrates 152nd birthday party

ASU logo (VIA ASU)

On Thursday, Alabama State University is celebrating the 152nd anniversary of it’s founding as well as Alabama’s Bicentennial year as a state with a ceremony, over 200 excited kids, and cake.

President Quinton Ross and others will speak at the event and that will be followed by music and the eating of the birthday cake. Ross is a former member of the Alabama State Senate.

The ASU family said in a statement: “Join us and over 200 excited first – 12th grade ASU SKYCAP kids as Alabama State University celebrates its 152nd Birthday Party and the State of Alabama’s Bicentennial Birthday during a brief, but celebratory ceremony, which will include ASU President Quinton T. Ross, Jr. offering opening remarks, other speakers, music, and some very “yummy” birthday refreshments. The big ASU 152nd Birthday & Alabama Bicentennial Bash will be held in the ASU Hardy Student Center in its second-floor Ballroom-C. Don’t miss out on the hundreds of delicious ASU birthday cupcakes decked out in the school colors, which will spell “ASU-152.”

The ceremony and festivities are open to all of the Hornets students and alumni as well as the University’s many family and friends in the general public, and the news media.

The guests include over 200 young people who represent ASU’s future, who are summer camp students in ASU’s SKYCAP program. They will be present and will be singing “Happy 152nd Birthday” to ASU and “Happy 200th Birthday” to the state of Alabama.

The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. and is expected to conclude at around noon. It will be at ASU’s Hardy Student Center in its second-floor Ballroom-C.

Thursday is the exact date of ASU’s founding in 1867 by nine freedmen, all former slaves, in Marion, Alabama. Joey Pinch, Thomas Speed, Nickolas Dale, James Childs, Thomas Lee, John Freeman, Nathan Levert, David Harris, and Alexander H. Curtis, made up the first Board of Trustees.

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Despite the tight economic conditions in post-Civil War Alabama, together they pooled $500 to establish the Lincoln Normal School to help educate the newly freed Black residents of Alabama. Today that historically black college and University is known as Alabama State University. They used that money to buy land and the American Missionary Association provided the money to build the first building.

In 1873 the state of Alabama took control and it was renamed the State Normal School and University for the Education of Colored Teachers and Students. It was renamed the Alabama State Lincoln Normal School and University (ASLNSU) in 1874. In 1887 it was moved to Montgomery and renamed the Normal School for Colored Students. It was funded by the state legislature for the first time in 1899.

Around that time William B. Patterson became the first Black faculty member. He became the first Black President in 1915. Under his leadership, it became a two-year junior college in 1920. It became a four-year university in 1929 and was renamed the State Teacher College, with the first four-year degrees in teacher education being awarded in 1931. In 1948 it was renamed as the Alabama State College for Negroes. In 1954 that was shortened to Alabama State College. In 1969 it was renamed Alabama State University.

Since 1867, ASU has been dedicated to education, research, service and improving student’s learning and the greater community’s lives through its championing and defending the ideals and principals of education, intellectualism, justice, equality and fair-play for all people.
President Ross has also introduced to ASU an enhanced ideal of “CommUniversity” which is building bridges and reaching out to assist, educate, and enlighten the community, via the University.

Alabama State University is America’s oldest ‘state-sponsored’ liberal arts HBCU and it is an important member of the Montgomery/River Region/State community. At last estimate, ASU annually contributes over $900 million in revenue to the local and state economy.

A State of Alabama historical marker stands in front of ASU’s William Harper Councill Hall that notes that the birth of America’ s modern Civil Rights Movement took place in its basement mere hours after Rosa Parks arrest. It was there that the planning and organizing of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by ASU faculty members Jo Ann Robinson, Thelma Glass and other members of the Women’s Political Council, took place on December 1, 1955.

ASU family members and supporters will also have an opportunity to show their love for the University by donating it to honor Alabama State University’s 152-year-old legacy.
Individuals or businesses can donate by contacting The ASU Foundation at P.O. Box 271, Montgomery, AL 36101-0271. Interested parties may also call Jennifer Anderson, ASU’s director of Development, at 334-229-4950.

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(Blackpast was consulted in the writing of this report.)

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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