Civil Rights

Sonnie Hereford IV

Sonnie Hereford IV is the son of Sonnie Hereford III and Annie Mae Hereford. He is known for being the first African American student to integrate a white public school in Alabama. On September 9, 1963, at the age of six, Sonnie Hereford IV accompanied his parents to enroll at Fifth Avenue School in Huntsville, Alabama. His enrollment marked a significant moment in the civil rights movement, challenging the racial segregation policies of the time. Despite facing resistance and hostility, Sonnie Hereford IV attended the previously all-white school, becoming a symbol of courage and progress in the fight against segregation.

Sonnie Hereford and his dad walked to Fifth Avenue School on September 3, 1963, when Sonnie was 6

Sonnie Hereford IV’s enrollment at Fifth Avenue School opened the door for further desegregation efforts in Huntsville and throughout Alabama. His presence at the school, along with the protection of federal marshals, helped pave the way for a more inclusive and equal educational system.

Sonnie Hereford IV and his father Dr. Sonnie Hereford recreate their Sept. 9, 1963 walk along Governors Dr. to enroll Sonnie as the first black student to enroll at a white Alabama public school on the 50th anniversary of the event

Sonnie Hereford IV’s actions, supported by the bravery of his parents, played a crucial role in advancing civil rights and breaking down racial barriers in education. His participation in the integration of public schools is an important part of the history of desegregation in the United States.

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