R.B. Hudson listed on Alabama’s historic register

Published 8:10 pm Thursday, July 18, 2013

R.B. Hudson was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage June 20. ---Time Reeves

R.B. Hudson was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage June 20. —Time Reeves

Selma City School Systems’ R.B. Hudson Middle School will forever have a place in Alabama’s history as it was recently listed to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

The R.B. Hudson Alumni Association has been working to get the school recognized for months and former Selma Fire Chief Henry Allen, an alumni member, was proud to finally announce to the Selma City School Board the Alabama Historical Commission certified R.B. Hudson as a historic landmark June 20.

What is now known as R.B. Hudson Middle began as R.B. Hudson High School in 1948 and was the first black high school in the city of Selma. The school’s name has changed multiple times since then, but returned back to the name R.B. Hudson for the first time in 41 years in 2012.

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Allen, who was a student at R.B. Hudson High School during the civil rights movement, said finally receiving the recognition as a state landmark is especially special.

“In 1963 the civil rights movement began, and we students from this school were the ones that really got involved in civil rights. We’re the generation responsible for the voting rights bill,” he said. “That’s why we’re working so hard on it because the truth has never been told.”

Allen said the role R.B. Hudson High played during the civil rights movement as the first black high school, prompted a youth movement that led to the passage voting rights act.

“It was my generation; we’re the ones that broke that ground. We’re groundbreakers. From 1963 to 1965 this school had over 5,000 students arrested who protested from this school who were going to Tabernacle Baptist Church,” he said. “The truth has never been told, because the John Lewis’ and all the other people got out and became national heroes — we’re the ones that took them where they got. If it hadn’t have been for us it would have never happened.”

Allen said the youth in Selma have never been recognized for their work.

“The adults came and got in front of the cameras and never mentioned the youth. So this was not an adult movement, this was a youth movement that contributed to the voting rights act,” he said, which is why he said he is thrilled for the recognition, even after 50 years.

To make the recognition public, however and raise the historic marker on it’s 7-foot aluminum rod with inscriptions on both sides, the cost will be $2,200. Allen, on behalf of the alumni association, asked the school board for financial assistance during a recent school board meeting. He said the alumni is still waiting on the board for an answer, and would be willing to split the cost or even take it on themselves.

Allen said the alumni are already working on being recognized as a national historic landmark in addition to a state landmark.