You know the scene. It’s college orientation and all the incoming freshmen are herded into the auditorium. A seen-it-all, heard-it-all university administrator steps to the lectern and instructs everyone to look to their left and again to their right. In a foreshadowing tone, the administrator announces that one of those people will not be there in four years.
The prediction is almost always correct. Students leave college for myriad reasons. But as my aunt told me, one Alabama A&M University student left the school and literally changed the course of history.
I love hearing my aunt reminisce about her college days at Alabama A&M University. A few years ago, she casually mentioned that she was a classmate of Vivian Malone, the first black graduate of the University of Alabama.
My aunt and Malone entered Alabama A&M together as freshmen in 1960. It was there that she and my aunt pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In fact, Malone was one of my aunt’s “big sisters” in 1963. Shortly after this, Malone left Huntsville for Tuscaloosa.
But no one knew the the poised, smart girl from Mobile would be walking her way into history.
“We had no idea,” my aunt recalled of Malone’s planned enrollment into the University of Alabama. “We were all glued to the television. We were very proud, but we were also very concerned because we knew what the consequences could be.”