Story and photos by Greg Miley, Speakin’ Out News staff writer and photographer
HUNTSVILLE, ALA. – – In a poignant ceremony held on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, four striking bronze statues took their place at William Hooper Councill Memorial Park. This park stands on the historic grounds of the former William Hooper Councill High School, a significant institution that served as the sole high school for African American students in Huntsville from the late 1800s until its closure in 1966 during the integration of Huntsville City Schools.
Crafted by the skilled hands of local artist Dan Burch, the unveiled statues tell a compelling narrative. The ensemble includes a depiction of a young girl and boy, hand in hand on their way to school, capturing the innocence of childhood. Another sculpture features a teenage girl embarking on her journey to school, while a third portrays an older teenage boy proudly adorned in a letterman jacket with the iconic Councill ‘C’ insignia.
Situated on St. Clair Avenue, just behind the main branch of the Huntsville-Madison County Library, the park pays homage to the rich history of the former high school. Attendees at the unveiling ceremony included notable figures such as Madison County District Six Commissioner Violet Edwards, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, City Council members Devyn Keith (District One) and John Meredith (District Five), Dr. Clarence Sutton (Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools), Jennifer Moore (CEO of Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau), and a gathering of Councill High School alumni and friends. Guiding the event with grace and eloquence was Ms. Erica Washington as the emcee.