Alabama State University Makes Amends for Expelling Nine Students Who, in 1960, Challenged the Racial Codes of Jim Crow

In February 1960, nine students at Alabama State University in Montgomery were expelled from the historically black educational institution for taking part in a sit-in at a racially segregated lunch counter at the Montgomery County Courthouse. Harper Councill Trenholm, who had been president of Alabama State University for 35 years, was pressured by Alabama governor John Patterson to make a statement that protests against Jim Crow would not be permitted.

Now a half-century later, Alabama State has officially “reinstated” the nine students who had been expelled. Late last month, three of the nine students attended a ceremony held in their honor at the university. Current Alabama State president William Harris is asking the board of trustees to grant degrees to all nine students at this spring’s commencement.