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Meet The First Black Graduate of University of Alabama, Vivian Malone Jones

On July 15, 1942, Vivian Malone Jones was born in Mobile, Alabama, who was one of the first two African-American students to get admission at the University of Alabama in the year 1963. She was also the first African-American to graduate from the respective university. She became famous when Alabama Governor George Wallace tried to block her from getting admission in the all-white University.

Vivian Malone Jones was a civil rights activist who was born to William Malone and Bertha Malone. William used to work as a maintenance man and a carpenter while Bertha was a maid. She was the oldest of all the siblings and had the idea of great responsibility and devotion. Vivian had a great idea of racial segregation of public education from her childhood. Once, a decision of segregated education was printed in the Mobile newspaper that made Vivian question her mother what that decision meant in reality. She always wanted to get a professional education and pursue Business as majors, and at the back of her, she always wanted to achieve anything.

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Vivian Malone started her college education at the Black Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College but later applied to the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration that was operated under the all-white University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. After the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the southern university became the first educational institution to break all the barriers of racial discrimination. Sadly she became a part of a controversy because of her colored skin and was being prohibited from entering the university premises by the governor of that time. She was, unfortunately, drowning in the pool of segregation that was not letting her come out and fight for herself and the people of her community. But still, she managed to make her way to the University through the involvement of proper government.

Malone’s overall experience at the university was mixed, as the environment of the university was sometimes extremely comfortable but at times she had to face the threats of violence from the governor. The University of Alabama still remembers the great accomplishments of Malone in 2000 when they beautifully awarded her an honorary doctorate of the caring letter and mentioned her as one of the outstanding students of the University.

Jones died following a stroke at age 63 on October 13, 2005, in an Atlanta hospital. Her funeral services were held at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College.

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