Alabama State University was co-founded by nine freed slaves from Marlon, Alabama who are remembered as the “Marlon Nine”. Joey P. Pinch, Thomas Speed, Nicholas Dale, James Childs, Thomas Lee, John Freeman, Nathan Levert, David Harris and Alexander H. Curtis sought to build a school for African-Americans who were previously denied the right to an education. With the assistance from Marlon community members, these co-founders raised $500 for land and on July 18, 1867 Incorporation papers were filed to establish the Lincoln Normal School at Marlon. On November 13, 1867 The Lincoln School opened with 113 students in attendance. Six years later in 1873 The Lincoln School became Alabama State University, the nation’s first state-sponsored liberal arts Institution for higher education of blacks. Alabama State University has continued their rich traditions and today it is a model of diversity and equal opportunity for all.
Notable Alumni Include: stand-up comedian, radio personality, television host and actor, Rickey Smiley and civil rights attorney, activist and preacher, Fred Gray