Dave McGlathery; First to Integrate the University of Alabama in Huntsville

Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 5:48 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - James Hood walked in first. Vivian Malone was second. And then came Dave McGlathery.

It was June 1963. A time in Alabama history that many would like to forget.

The Alabama National Guard was federalized to protect and permit two, twenty-year-old black students to register at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. Alabama Governor George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door trying to stop them. He was unsuccessful.

That night, President Kennedy gave his famous Civil Rights speech.

Two days after Hood and Malone registered, at what was then known as the University of Alabama-Huntsville Center, 27-year-old Dave McGlathery left his home in hopes of registering. It would be McGlathery’s second attempt to register for a second undergraduate degree.

It was June 13, 1963. His home was surrounded by Alabama National Guard, but still, he left to try one more time to register for engineering classes.

In a well-choreographed move and flanked by state troopers, McGlathery walked into Morton Hall on campus and was finally accepted, so to speak, into the Huntsville Center.

Why be the first to integrate what is now the University of Alabama-Huntsville?

He was already a degreed mathematician and working at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, but needed an additional degree to be an aerospace engineer to climb the ladder. The irony of growing up picking cotton on the very land where he would later become the first, full-time black professional to help send men to the Moon is not lost on his son.

University of Alabama Huntsville students and faculty talk about McGlathery’s legacy and the scholarship now set up in his name:

Chauncey McGlathery recently published a book titled ‘Delivery Yourself From Evil.” You can purchase the book on and check for updates on social media for local book signing events.

Now on Amazon and Soon Coming to Huntsville!

Posted by The Hero's Journey DYFE Deliver Yourself From Evil - The Book on Sunday, February 21, 2021

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