Reconstruction Period Research Forum
William Henry Council ~ pioneer
William Hooper Councill: A&M founder deserves fame
Former slave started a church, served as lawyer and legislator
History usually remembers people for just one thing.
So William Hooper Councill, one of Huntsville's most celebrated black leaders, isn't famous for establishing a church, although he founded St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1885.
He isn't famous for starting a school, although he opened Lincoln School in Huntsville in 1869.
He isn't famous for practicing law, although he was admitted to the bar in 1883, or for serving two years in the state Legislature, or as proprietor, publisher and editor of the Huntsville Herald from 1877 to 1884.
But if history hasn't always done justice to Councill's other achievements, he is rightly celebrated as the founder and first president of Alabama A&M University.
As John Rankin, a local historian with the Madison Historical Society, puts it: "Councill brought our black population a hope of education. He proved it could be done."