Nov. 13, 1867
On this day in Alabama history, the current Alabama State University (ASU) opened its doors with 113 students in Marion. It was founded by nine former slaves earlier in 1867 as the Lincoln School of Marion. In December 1873, the state board accepted the transfer of title to the school after a legislative act was passed authorizing the state to fund a Normal School, and George Card was named president. As predecessor of ASU, in 1874, this became Alabama’s first state-supported educational institution for African-American students.
William Paterson was appointed as the second president in 1878. Paterson is recognized as a founder of ASU and was the president for 37 of the first 48 years of its existence. He was instrumental in the move from Marion to Montgomery in 1887. Lincoln Normal School became a junior college in the decades that followed and, in 1928, became a four-year institution. It became State Teachers College in 1929, Alabama State College for Negroes in 1948 and Alabama State College in 1954. In 1969, the state board of education approved a name change to Alabama State University.