About Us

These are the officers elected by the WHCAA members. Please support the elected officers of WHCAA so that we can move the project forward to completion.

President – Brenda Chunn
Vice-President – Arthur McDonald
Executive Secretary – Olivia M. Brandon
Recording Secretary – Patricia D. Williams
Treasurer – Paul Langford
Parliamentarian – Peter Procter, Jr.
Chaplain – Bradley McDonald


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


In May 1986, the class of 1966 came together to celebrate their 20th class reunion. During this gala, thoughts turned to the preservation of the memory of William Hooper Councill High School. Out of various discussions grew the idea of erecting an Historical marker on the site.

In 1988, a meeting was called by Mrs. Shirley Fitcheard Bush for the purpose of furthering the idea of an Historical Marker. At this call meeting a petition was drawn up, signed and submitted to the Huntsville City Schools. The history of the school was sent to County Historian and plans for the marker were submitted to the Historical Society.

In 1989, the marker was approved by the Alabama Historical Society, however, there were no funds available for installation. In 1993, the funds were raised and on Sept. 20,1993, the site for the marker was selected. On Sunday, March 27, 1994 the Historical Marker Ceremonial Dedication was held at the Huntsville Public Library and the marker was placed on the old school site at 620 St. Clair Ave.

One month later on April 16,1994, the William Hooper Councill Alumni Association, Inc, a 501(C)(3) organization was formed for the purpose of restoring/rebuilding/preserving the only remaining evidence of Huntsville, Alabama’s minority citizens success and contributions to the city before integration and urban renewal.

The Co-Founders of the WHCAA, Inc. were Shirley Fitcheard-Bush and Catherine Madrey Stewart,. WHCAA, Inc’s office is currently located at 4600 Blue Spring Road, in the Dr. Richard Showers Community Center.

WHCAA, Inc. Original Alumni Planning Committee Members – 1994
Richard H. Bush – President
Willie B. Pope- Vice President
Shirley Fitcheard Bush- Executive Secretary /Treasurer
Catherine Madrey-Stewart-Co- Executive Secretary
Claude A. Brown – Finance Committee
Virgina Sledge-Rice- Membership
Earnest Horton – Policy & Procedures Committee
Adam Kellam- – Honorary Board Member
George Kelley- Community Projects
Mamie Pendleton- Ward- Media/ Publicity
Earline Bellmon-Ford – Social Committee
Perry O. Ward- Historian /Parliamentarian
Dr. Willie Mingo Clark- Chaplain

School History

WILLIAM HOOPER COUNCILL HIGH SCHOOL variously called the “City School”, “Colored School”, “Huntsville Public School”,” Huntsville High School”,” Councill High School” and “William Hooper Councill High School” was founded in 1867 in the basement of Lakeside Methodist Episcopal Church located on Jefferson Street in Huntsville, Al .

In June 1891 a group of prominent men in the community came together for the purpose of finding a suitable location for a school for colored children. Those present were Dr. B.E. Scruggs of Lakeside Methodist Episcopal, Rev. W.H. Gaston of St. Bartley PB Church, Rev. N.W. Wilkerson of the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Robert Jones of Colored Methodist Episcopal, J.W.Betts of the Missionary Baptist Church, Herndon Brandon and Arch Roberts of the Africian Methodist Episcopal Church.

The group chose a tract of land located between Pump and Pearl streets. The school was relocated to a frame building on the present site in 1892. From 1892-1966, the school was the first and only public high school (grades 1-12) for African Americans in the city of Huntsville, Alabama.

The school was named for the founder of Alabama A&M University, Dr. William H. Councill, and the first diplomas were awarded in 1912. A brick structure replaced the original building in 1927. In 1966, William Hooper Councill hosted its last graduating class due to public integration
The WHCAA Inc., Board of Directors-2012

Earnest Horton – President
Ellery Williams – Executive Vice President
Ollye B. Conley – Associate Executive Vice President
Shirley F. Bush – Executive Secretary / Treasurer
Bruce Taylor – Finance Commision
Richard Crimes – Publicity/ Media Commission
Patricia J. Pope – Membership Commission
Marie Hunter – Social Affairs Commission
Brenda Lucas – Policy / Procedures Commission
Kenneth Smith – Historian
Melvin Gill – Honorary Board Advisory Commission
Dr. Willie Mingo Clark – Honorary Chaplain