"We Rise to Honor Councill"

  • "50th Anniversary Celebration 2016"

 

Councill High School Alumni and City Announce Renovation Plans for Historic School 

August 24, 2016 

For Immediate Release

 

 

Huntsville, ALThe William Hooper Councill High School Alumni Association joined Mayor Tommy Battle and representatives from the Huntsville Housing Authority today in announcing a plan to preserve portions of the historic school property on St. Clair Avenue and to memorialize the site as the first public school for African-American students in the city.

Alumni Association president Brenda Barley Chunn, class of 1966, revealed conceptual drawings by Fuqua & Partners Architects that would save the original gym and create a public memorial and garden honoring Councill and civil rights leaders.

Chunn noted that it has been 150 years since the doors to the first Councill School opened and 50 years since the closing of the school on the St. Clair site.

“Today marks a new beginning in the legacy of William Hooper Councill High School,” said Chunn. “It was on this site that generations of African-Americans acquired the education and training that would prepare them to enjoy better quality life experiences. These doors at Councill High School were the only doors open to them.”

When segregation ended, the abandoned Councill High School property fell on hard times. Structural engineers have now deemed a portion of the building unsafe and beyond repair. Asbestos abatement teams are now removing hazardous materials and taking down the unsafe structure and retaining the primary school building and gymnasium. 

“The site of William Hooper Councill High School is an important part of Huntsville’s history, and the City is committed to creating a memorial here that will preserve the legacy of Councill, its alumni, and the spirit of hope, faith and perseverance.”

The estimates the renovations and gardens will cost about $8 million. While funding hasn’t fully been identified, Chunn and Mayor Battle say they are working to secure funding through a public-private partnership and grants. The City has committed the proceeds from the sale of land in the downtown area to this project.

“Our experience revealed that we remain a viable, deeply committed community still possessing all of the strength, faith and character instilled in earlier times,” said Chunn.

William H. Councill was the founder and first president of what became Alabama A & M in 1875.  A former slave, Councill rose to become a lawyer, newspaper editor, legislator and Alabama Supreme Court Justice.


THANK YOU COUNCILLIANS

August 23, 2016

THANK YOU COUNCILLIANS

Thank you to all Councillians for your resounding answer to the call to come home to “Rise to Honor Councill.”

Recently, hundreds of graduates from The Historic William Hooper Councill High School gathered at the Marriott, Tranquility Base in Huntsville, Alabama. We greeted one another, we saw the date of August 13, 2016 proclaimed as William Hooper Councill High School Day by Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, we performed our historic musical traditions, we shared our personal stories, we celebrated one another, and we spoke the profound message of the importance of our legacy. In a word, our 50th Anniversary Reunion celebrating the legacy of William Hooper Councill High School was wonderful!

My profound thank you goes to all who planned and served during this time. To all of our classmates, families and friends who participated and supported this important event, we say thank you. Our experience revealed that we remain a viable, deeply committed community still possessing all of the strength, faith and character instilled in earlier times.

My personal appreciation, and my best wishes are extended to all until we meet again!

Brenda Barley Chunn, ‘66

WHCAA President and

50th Reunion Chairman


The 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Legacy of W.H. Councill High School - Save the Date August 13, 2016

Generations of Huntsvillians accessed the hallowed halls of William Hooper Counciill High School to acquire education and training that would prepare them to enjoy better quality life experiences. For decades hundreds of African-Americans in Huntsville could only find the door of WHCHS open to them. They used the opportunities provided therein to obtain employment, higher education, and other productive roles as citizens of Huntsville, the United States and the world

Since the school opened one hundred and fifty (150) years ago, we have all experienced the phenomenal changes that have taken place. The 1960's ushered in a new era for our country. When the Supreme Court ruling in the historic Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas case required an end to segregated education, our town of Huntsville responded in kind. In response, our community witnessed the closing of "dear ole Councill.:.

At this time of Sesquicentennial, 150 years since its opening, and Golden Anniversary, 50 years since its closing, the alumni will "rise to honor Councill." Please join us on August 13, 2016 for a community wide celebration; all alumni, friends and supporters are invited to participate. The school wide reunion will include a Gala that will recount stories of the school days, featuring choir music of an alumni and friends led by renowned musicians, Mrs. Carmelita Gandy and Councillian Mrs. Mary Curry.

The WHCAA willl use this event to launch a fundraising campaign that will result in a major gift earmarked for the permanent renovation of the historic William Hooper Councill High School site.
"Come Home to Councill"

Sincerely

Brenda Barley Chunn - Reunion Chairman



ALERT: W.H.C. 50th ANNIVERSARY GALA

This is just a reminder that today, FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2016 is the DEADLINE for sending in your fee to attend the 50th Anniversary Gala for the Historic William Hooper Councill High School to be held August 12-13, 2016. If you plan on attending and have not sent your fee in, please call the Liaison Chairs or the Treasurer to make last minutes arrangement for getting your payment in this weekend.

The Huntsville Marriott (5 Tranquility Base – Huntsville, AL 35805 – 256.830.2222) will serve as our HEADQUARTERS. If you require lodging, please make your reservations no later than, TODAY, FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2016, in order to receive the discounted rate of $109.48 (tax included).

Please inform the reservationist that you are with the William Hooper Councill High School Reunion. The cost for this event is only $75.00 per person (alumni, guest, etc.). All advance ticket purchases will be available for pick up during the Alumni Hospitality Check-In, Friday, August 12, 2016 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm.

IF YOU NEED TO MAKE ANY OTHER ARRANGEMENTS,
PLEASE CONTACT :
Joyce Dickerson Martin – Class Liaison Chair -256.655.5845
Catherine Madry Stewart -Class Liaison Co-Chair- 256.701.7479
— Catherine M.Stewart


Gala Letter for Alums

April 7, 2016

Greetings fellow classmates,
The 50th Anniversary Gala for the Historic William Hooper Councill High School will be held August 12-13, 2016. The Steering Committee (Brenda Barley Chunn, Chair) is working tirelessly to ensure that a “golden” time will be had by all.

The Huntsville Marriott (5 Tranquility Base – Huntsville, AL 35805 – 256.830.2222) will serve as our headquarters. All events will be held there. If you require lodging, please make your reservations no later than July 22nd, in order to receive the discounted rate of $109.48 (tax included). Please inform the reservationist that you are with the William Hooper Councill High School Reunion.

In order for you to properly plan for this event, the following agenda has been provided:

  • Friday – August 12, 2016
    Alumni Hospitality Check-In
    (6:00pm until 8:00pm

  • Saturday – August 13, 2016

Legacy Celebration Brunch (10:00am until 12:00pm); Attire – Business Casual
William Hooper Councill High School Site Tour (OPTIONAL - 1:00pm until 2:00pm)
Class Photos (5:00pm until 5:45pm)
Legacy Celebration Gala (6:00pm until 10:00pm); Attire – Semiformal

The cost for this event is only $75.00 per person (alumni, guest, etc.). Ticket sales have already begun and may be purchased by contacting your Class Liaison, Committee Chair or Co-Chair listed below. All advance ticket purchases will be available for pick up during the Alumni Hospitality Check-In. If you were an attendee or graduate and your class does not appear on the list, you may contact any one of the liaison committee members.

In closing, thank you for choosing to be a part of a great celebration for all of us who call William Hooper Councill High School “alma mater”. In the event you are unable to attend, we encourage you to please send a donation to assist us in reaching our preservation and restoration goals.

Kindest regards,

Joyce Dickerson Martin
Class Liaison Chair
256.655.5845

Catherine Madry Stewart
Class Liaison Co-Chair
256.701.7479

CLASS LIAISONS
1956 –Willie Leslie Lightford (256) 852-2596 willie.lightford@att.net
1957 – Laura Ford Clift (256) 859-2190 lclift1624@aol.com
1958 – Josephine Lightford Robinson (256) 694-9371 rjosephine50@yahoo.com
1959 – Carol Howard Scott (256) 852-8111 chs243@mchsi.com
1960 – Dorothy Ford Matthews (256) 851-7544 dorothy_matthews@bellsouth.com
1961 – Joyce Dickerson Martin (256) 464-5891 joyousmart@aol.com
1962 – Olivia McDonald Brandon (256) 837-0860 ombrandon@knology.net
1963 – Arthur McDonald (256) 527-8145 arthurmcdonald1976@wowway.com
1964 – Patricia Drake Williams (256) 653-9564 pataw2353@yahoo.com
1965 – Leatrice Conley Gradford (256) 859-0513 leagradford@hotmail.com
1966 – Catherine Madry Stewart (256) 859-2067 kittycat46@knology.net

Download the registration form:at this link: Gala Letter Registration Form



 




The first phase of a new four-lane roadway into downtown Huntsville honoring civil rights icon Dr. Joseph E. Lowery is open after a year of construction.

City leaders gathered Friday to debut the new Dr. Joseph E. Lowery Boulevard from Governors Drive to Pelham Avenue. The second phase of the $8 million project will stretch nearly half a mile and end at Williams Avenue in Big Spring International Park when it launches later this year. Each side of the boulevard features a 10-foot multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians, supporting one component of the city's BIG Picture mobility plan .

"This is one of the connecting segments of the BIG Picture that as we do this piece, we will do another piece and another," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. "As these pieces all connect, we end up with a plan that gives us mobility throughout this city, both pedestrian, bike and by automobile."

The Huntsville City Council˙approved the naming of the downtown gateway for Lowery in May 2015. Lowery, now in his 90s and living in Atlanta, was born in Huntsville and grew up on Church Street across from where the WHNT-TV Channel 19 studio sits today. He graduated from segregated William Hooper Councill High School in Huntsville. Lowery, who got involved in the civil rights movement in the early 1950s, eventually co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He played key roles in the Montgomery bus boycott and Selma to Montgomery marches that focused America's attention on racism in the South.

"To be able to name this new street, this new vision to downtown Huntsville in honor of a great civil rights icon, we thank the mayor, the council and all of you who played a part in this opportunity today," said Councilman Richard Showers. "Dr. Lowery is awaiting an opportunity to come. We will have another ceremony when he is present."

The city is also creating a new east-west connector via Pelham Avenue and Davis Circle to provide more connectivity to the Monroe Street roundabout near the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library. The work should be complete this summer . Shane Davis, director of urban development for Huntsville, said a new greenway will be developed along Fagan Creek, replacing the original bridge design. Bids on the project, which will enclose the Fagan Creek channel into a box-culvert, will be awarded next month with construction starting in June. After it is enclosed, a new multi-use path will be installed to connect Lowery Boulevard to Monroe Street.

"By enclosing Fagan Creek from Lowery Boulevard to Monroe, we have created greater connectivity in the downtown area," Davis said. "At some point in the future, we would also like to look at extending the greenway from Lowery Boulevard east to California Street."