Black History Month

Making a joyful noise through song and dance

The Afro-American Gospel Choir performs their 45th Anniversary Concert at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on April 24, 2016. Hamilton native George Walker can be seen near the middle, directly to the left of the microphone. He organized the concert, which was a huge success. Walker was the 13th member to join the AAGC in 1971. The choir was established in August and he joined in September. He also led songs and did some directing.
TUSCALOOSA— In the summer of 1971, a group of 12 African American students at the University of Alabama entered a talent show sponsored by the Afro-American Association. They chose to sing a gospel song representative of the source of their faith.

About our curator

Ruthie Whitman

Ruthie Whitman of Hamilton has curated the Black History Month stories and photos for the Journal Record for the last decade. We are grateful to her for the hard work, time and effort she puts into collecting the stories and coordinating the publications to run every week during the month of February. What you are reading today is courtesy of Ruthie Whitman and the author she reached out to for this special celebration and recognition of African Americans and the arts.

Celebrating Black History Month: God is leading Gibbs family

This photo of Rocky Grove Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Clyde Walter McGaha (right) and his wife, Inez, was printed on the front of a pamphlet in celebration of their seventh anniversary at the church. More than a dozen other churches were invited to the ceremony, held on Oct. 15, 1972. Rev. M.D. West preached the sermon for the ceremony. He is the father of our Black History Month curator, Ruthie Whitman.

God is leading the Gibbs Family, and they don’t mind sharing the news. Gifts He is bestowing upon them include ministry and music and much more--including multi-generational blessings and talents.
Latoya Gibbs shared her family’s story with the Journal Record recently, noting her late grandfather, Pastor Clyde Walter McGaha, pastored the Rocky Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Hamilton for years, supported by his wife, Inez.
Her parents are Anthony and Barbara McGaha, and her other grandparents are Pastor Leroy and Annie Harris.

The secret power of gospel music and its kinship to Black history

Dr. Martin Nalls is the head of school for the I3 Academy in Birmingham, a tuition-free, public charter school serving kindergarten through seventh-grade students.
BIRMINGHAM — I remember growing up in Marion County, Ala. My parents' home would be filled with the sounds of Shirley Caesar, the Winans, Vanessa Bell Armstrong and other gospel music greats. This was especially the case on Sunday morning as we prepared for church.

African Americans and the Arts

Dr. Lavern Terrell wrote about African Americans and the Arts to kickoff February’s Black History Month recognition for the Journal Record.
“For centuries, Western intellectuals denied or minimized the contributions of people of African descent to the arts as well as history, even as their artistry in many genres was mimicked and/or stolen,” according to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, 2024.

Celebrating the history of Guin’s Colored School

Guin Colored School/Guin High School’s first classes met in Real Chapel C.M.E. Church in Guin.
The teachers were, Cora Swanigan and Micha Terrell Warren.
The location for classes was the Joseph Northington place in Guin.
The county then built a two room school, the location of which now is the Curtis Wallace place.
The C.M.E. church was also used. Students were bused from Winfield, Brookside and Brilliant.

Looking at the history of Hamilton’s Ada Hanna School

Edward Northington

(This February, the Journal Record will celebrate Black History Month by taking a look back at the Ada Hannah School in Hamilton and the stories that surround it.)

Edward Northington
My name is Edward Clifton Northington, and I moved to Bexar when I was nine years old.
I started Ada Hanna when I was in the third grade. One of my teachers was Mrs. Tiney Bobo.  
And later I had a student crush on Mrs. Edith Parks.