Council resolution addresses 60s era arrests, convictions of Alabama State students

City council recognizes group of Alabama State College students from 1960

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Tuesday, the city of Montgomery publicly acknowledged the wrongs of the past that impacted Alabama State students more than 50 years ago.

A resolution adopted unanimously by the city council recognized the grief and suffering students and others endured after being arrested and prosecuted by the the city of Montgomery for participation in a peaceful demonstration back in 1960.

March 8, 1960 is when that demonstration occurred on South Jackson Street. Alabama State College students were standing in solidarity for nine students who where expelled for staging a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter at the Montgomery County Court house cafeteria. During the peaceful march 35 students were arrested and 32 convicted in the Montgomery Recorder’s Court.

The city worked directly with Alabama State University to see this resolution happen.

Some believe this gesture by the council, with the mayors blessing, emphasizes that Montgomery is a very different place now.

“I am elated. It was a long time coming. These students were wrongfully punished and wrongfully convicted. This is an exoneration of sorts," said Dr. Derryn Moton with Alabama State University.

“I am a graduate of Alabama State University. I taught there also. We think the students were wronged for expressing their constitutional rights," said councilman Fred Bell.

Bell said he did bring up in the work session work being done for these individuals to be legally pardoned in the future.

Back in May the Alabama State Board of Education passed a resolution expunging the record of the nine Alabama State College students expelled, the 20 students placed on probation, and the number of faculty forced to leave.

The Montgomery County Commission is expected to follow the city with a similar resolution.

According to Mayor Todd Strange, the resolution is scheduled to be presented at an event at Alabama State University in the near future.

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