BirminghamWatch’s Hank Black was inducted into the Wall of Fame for the University of Alabama’s Office of Student Media during an event April 26.
Black, who covers the environment for BW, was honored for his role as editor in chief of the Crimson White during one of the most turbulent years in the university’s history. Black was editor in 1963, when Vivian Malone and James Hood became the first two black students to successfully enroll at UA, following Gov. George Wallace’s infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.”
He was among 25 journalists permitted inside UA’s Foster Auditorium on June 11, 1963, to witness Malone and Hood register for classes, according to a press release from UA.
“Already, before that day, as Hank has written, he had met Vivian Malone and Jimmy Hood in secret sessions at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa,” said Mark Mayfield, editorial adviser and associate director of student media. “Those meetings brought together black students interested in enrolling at UA and currently enrolled UA students who supported them. The meetings were held in secret because of the threat of violence. After all, the KKK was headquartered in Tuscaloosa at that time.
“The Crimson White’s efforts in objectively covering civil rights issues — and using the editorial page to strongly support integration — took courage and leadership,” Mayfield said. “Hank and Mel Meyer, the 1962-63 CW editor who preceded him, were the right editors at the right time in the CW’s history.”
Black graduated in 1964 and worked for a short time at The Birmingham News and Tuscaloosa News before beginning a 37-year career as a medical writer and media specialist at UAB. Since his retirement, he has worked as a freelance journalist.
Also inducted into the Wall of Fame were John Archibald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for AL.com, and Paul Wright, who is retiring June 1 after 15 years as student media director. The Wall of Fame recognizes extraordinary achievement from alumni and former staff members.
The inductions were made during the annual UA Media Planning Board Awards Reception at the Ferguson Student Center. Plaques with the new Wall of Fame inductees will be added to those already displayed in The Crimson White newsroom.
Others in the Wall of Fame include former Birmingham News editor Jim Jacobson, Rick McCammon, Bob Cohn, Wayne Greenhaw, Anne Waldron and Epp Sykes, the 1925 Crimson White editor who wrote and composed the fight song, “Yea, Alabama!”
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