We're all familiar with the famous stories and figures that history books seem to keep on repeat. But what happens to the stories that don't make the books? If not passed down from one generation to the next, they may be lost. It's so important that we share all the stories that make us who we are. Because a book failed to mention it, it doesn't take away from being impactful and worthy of being remembered.
The City of Huntsville got it right in making sure a giant of a man is forever remembered and engrained in our hearts!
Where once stood Huntsville's first school for African American students is now a beautiful and welcoming park. Walk in the footsteps of Councill High alum and pay tribute to a small portion of Dr. William Hoopper Councill's legacy.
Dr. William Hooper Councill was born in North Carolina to enslaved parents. He would eventually be sold to slave traders and sent to North Alabama, where he worked on a cotton plantation until he escaped to freedom. After his successful escape, Councill returned to Alabama to pursue his education. He would go on to wear many hats and achieve great things. As his life and accomplishments grew, he committed to providing quality education to Black children. Councill's commitment would lead him to open Lincoln Normal School. As a continuation of this work and his dedication to education, in 1875, Councill became the Founder and first President of State Colored Normal School, or what we know today as Alabama A&M University.
William Hooper Councill Memorial Park
As you walk through the park, you can engage with tales from those who proudly walked the halls of Councill High. Stories of the impressive 1965 undefeated football team and noteworthy graduates, such as Dr. Sonnie Hereford, make for a beautiful way to absorb the rich and diverse history that makes the city great.
The stories are great, but the park wouldn't be complete without having Dr. Councill present, and that he is. A life-size statue of Councill brightly welcomes everyone visiting the park, just like the bright legacy he left behind.
William Hooper Councill Memorial Park is next door to Huntsville Madison County Public Library downtown branch. It is the perfect place to enjoy a book, picnic lunch, coffee from the coffee trail, or relax under the sun. It has more than enough tables and benches as well as several grassy areas and a courtyard. After you learn, stay for a while and enjoy the spirit of William Hooper Councill.
William Hooper Councill Memorial Park Address: 620 St. Clair Avenue Huntsville, Alabama
Are you interested in learning more about Dr. William Hooper Councill? These local sources will help guide you on your journey to learning and appreciating Councill's legacy.
Huntsville Revisited and the Huntsville Revisited Museum inside the HC Blake Art & History Center. Negro History of Huntsville Alabama is also full of information.
Visit Councill's grave and the eternal flame on the campus of Alabama A&M University.