James Hood dies; defied segregation at University of Alabama
ABOVE PHOTO: In this June 11, 1963 file photo, Vivian Malone and James Hood stand in the doorway of Foster Auditorium where they hold what they called their "first and final news conference" after the two African-American students registered at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Ala. Earlier, Gov. George Wallace had barred their way from the same doorway. Hood, one of the first black students at the University of Alabama, has died. He was 70.
One of the first black students who enrolled at the University of Alabama a half century ago in defiance of racial segregation has died. James Hood of Gadsden was 70.
Officials at Adams-Buggs Funeral Home in Gadsden said they are handling arrangements for Hood, who died Thursday.
Then-Alabama Gov. George Wallace made his infamous "stand in the schoolhouse door" in a failed effort to prevent Hood and Vivian Malone from registering for classes at the university in 1963.
Hood and Malone were accompanied by Deputy U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach when they were confronted by Wallace as they attempted to enter the university's Foster Auditorium to register for classes and pay fees.
Wallace backed down later that day and Hood and Malone registered for classes.
UA President Judy Bonner remembered Hood as a man of "courage and conviction" for being one of the first black students to enroll at the university.
"His connection to the university continued decades later when he returned to UA to earn his doctorate in 1997. He was a valued member of The University of Alabama community, and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time," Bonner said.
Hood was the last survivor among the major figures in the schoolhouse door incident. Wallace died in 1998, Vivian Malone Jones in 2005 and Katzenbach last year.
After enrolling, Hood remained at UA for a few months and moved to Michigan, where he received a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University and a master's degree from Michigan State.
He later moved to Wisconsin, where he worked at the Madison Area Technical College for 26 years. He retired in 2002 as chairman of public safety services in charge of police and fire training.
He finally returned to UA later in life to earn his doctorate.
Culpepper Clark, author of "The Schoolhouse Door: Segregation's Last Stand at the University of Alabama," called the schoolhouse door incident "an iconic moment" in the Civil Rights Movement because it provided a confrontation between Wallace and the Kennedy administration. He said the incident was "symbolically important" and helped lead to passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Clark described Hood as a man with a lot of "intellectual energy" who understood the importance of what he did at the University of Alabama in 1963.
"He didn't try to make it into more than what it was," Clark said.
The Rev. Preston Nix grew up in Etowah County and said he knew of Hood, who was several years older than he.
Nix said it took a lot of courage for Hood to challenge the segregation at the University of Alabama in 1963.
Nix said he felt Hood did what he did partly to "pave the way" for others to be able to improve themselves and get a higher education and partly because he wanted to attend the University of Alabama.
Samory Pruitt, vice president for community affairs at UA, agreed with Nix.
"Because of what he did, people like me were afforded the opportunity to go to the University of Alabama," said Pruitt, who is black. "I think it's about people having the opportunity to be the best they can be."
+ Top Story
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.
The woman’s voice was frantic and breathless, and she was choking back tears. “Help me. I’m Amanda Berry,” she told a 911 dispatcher. “I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing for 10 years and I’m, I’m here, I’m free now.”
PepsiCo is once again learning the risks of celebrity partnerships after an ad for Mountain Dew was criticized for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence toward women. The soda and snack food company said it immediately pulled the 60-second spot after learning that people found it offensive.
Kiera Wilmot, 16, is by all known accounts an excellent student with impeccable behavior. She is also — now — a marked woman who will be tried as an adult for discharging a weapon on school grounds in what was allegedly a bungled science experiment," reports WSTB.com.
America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.
Three college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were arrested and accused Wednesday of trying to protect him by going into his dorm room and getting rid of a backpack filled with hollowed-out fireworks three days after the deadly attack.
Chris Kelly, half of the 1990s kid rap duo behind one of the decade's most memorable songs, "Jump," has died at an Atlanta hospital of an apparent drug overdose, authorities said. He was 34. Kelly, known as "Mac Daddy," and Chris Smith, known as "Daddy Mac," made up the rap group Kris Kross...
According to the data found in a new report, “The Buying Power of Black America,” now may be the most opportune time ever for businesses to develop a strategy for increasing their share of the Black American market.