Black History Month is about honoring those who have made an impact during the civil rights era.

Nathaniel Howard is one of those unsung heroes that was dedicated to making a difference in the Tuscaloosa community. He had many titles throughout his life including father civil rights activist and now author.

He recently published his first book which reflects on the battles he fought while trying to integrate Tuscaloosa. Howard says it took him about three months to write his book, The City of Tuscaloosa: The Real Truth: Undressed of Mendacity, Redressed in Veracity. 

During the Civil Rights Movement, this unsung hero helped organize and participate in marches, assisted in voter registration drives and even testified before a federal grand jury in opposition to police brutality.

Howard says his work during this turbulent times in Tuscaloosa afforded him the opportunity to meet with Martin Luther King Jr.

“I met him in Birmingham. Me and him hit it off real good because I was born in the barbershop and I could tell him good jokes,” Howard said.

Racial tensions hit a peak in Tuscaloosa when Autherine Lucy tried to integrate The University of Alabama. Howard reflects back on the time he helped escort Lucy out of Tuscaloosa. He recalls what he told her driver.

“I told him now what I am going to do. I said I am going to lead you all the way back to the Bessemer cutoff. And when I get to the Bessemer cutoff and we don’t have no trouble there you can make it and that’s what I did,” Howard said. “When I got to the Bessemer cut off I told him I would let my window down and hold my hand up that man came around me so fast I thought he was in a jet plane.”

Howard is thanked and recognized for his contributions to the Tuscaloosa community.

“You can get a lot if you ask for it and you know how to ask for it. I know how to do it verbally and I knew how to write and do it,” Howard said.

Categories: Alabama News, Local News