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Alabama State University renames residence hall for civil rights leader

Apr 21, 2022

A bus driver's empty bus moves through downtown Montgomery, Ala., in this April 26, 1956, file photo. Black people were boycotting the buses because police in Montgomery had threatened to arrest Black people who desegregated. (AP/Horace Cort) MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama State University is naming a residence hall after civil-rights pioneer Jo Ann Robinson. Robinson played a key role in the historic 13-month Montgomery Bus Boycott in the mid-1950s, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. University officials named the building after her this week in Montgomery. The hall was previously named for Bibb Graves, former Alabama state governor and a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The Board of Trustees had voted to change the name in September. “She’s finally being brought to the forefront,” said Dr. Sheree Finley, one of Robinson’s relatives. At a ceremony this week on the campus, civil-rights attorney Fred Gray recalled the times that he planned the bus boycott in Robinson’s living room. “Little did many know that [many of the] activities that [had an] impact on the civil rights movement in Alabama occurred at Jo Ann Robinson’s house,” Gray said. “She was the person who was interested in having mass participation,” Gray said after the ceremony. “We could have desegregated the buses without a protest, but she was interested in getting something done with the community.” ADVERTISEMENT

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