Sonnie Hereford, Civil Rights Pioneer

We were fortunate to be able to talk to Sonnie Hereford IV, who at the age of 5 was the first child to integrate public schools not just in Huntsville, but in Alabama in 1963.

Sonnie took us on base at the Redstone Arsenal to his favorite bicycling spot along the river.


We talked about his father Sonnie Hereford III, a civil rights activists, who initiated the suit to get his kids into the white school across the street from their neighborhood.


Dr. Sonnie Hereford and his 6-year-old son return home after being turned away from Huntsville’s Fifth Avenue School on Sept. 6, 1963.

We talked about race relations then and now, his legacy in Huntsville schools, his dad, his childhood, and his career. Sonnie was a delight to spend an afternoon talking to and important contributor to the Secret History archive.


Thanks to Jake Berent of WAFF TV and Jane DeNeefe of the Huntsville African American History Project for introducing us to Sonnie.


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