Days Gone By - stories from the past

Alabama Education Association dates back to 1850’s & was reorganized after the Civil War

Everyone looks forward to spring break - This is also the time of the annual Alabama Education Association Convention in Birmingham. The AEA was formed very early in Alabama's history.

Alabama Educational Association is a voluntary professional society or association organized “to advance the educational interests of Alabama.”

Formed before the Civil War

“Alabama Education Association was formed formed on July 24, 1856 in Selma by 46 men, led by William F. Perry, the first state superintendent of education, and Dr. L.C. Garland, president of the University of Alabama and the first AEA president. The Alabama Educational Journal, the predecessor of today’s Alabama School Journal, chronicled AEA’s first meeting, but it was short-lived.

Gen. William F. Perry

William f perry

The Alabama Educational Journal was revived and officially began publishing in October 1858 with a “Vol. 1, No. 1, and was edited by Noah K. Davis. During the Civil War, most public education activities were suspended.

Dr. Landon C. Garland

Garland, Landon C. University of Alabama president

Alabama Educational Association is a voluntary professional society or association organized “to advance the educational interests of Alabama.”

State Association in 1882

“The predominantly black Alabama State Teachers Association was formed April 6-7, 1882 at a meeting in Selma. AEA was revived on July 5, 1882  during a meeting in Birmingham when it was organized as the Alabama Teachers’ Educational Association.” The State Superintendent of Education, Henry Clay Armstrong presided.

Many veteran teachers of the day were in attendance, including Dr. E. R. Dickson, Prof. John Titcomb, Prof. G. A. Woodward, Rev. Martin L. Frierson, Prof. John S. Dodson, Prof. I. W. McAdory, and Miss Julia Tutwiler. Superintendent Armstrong was elected president. The meeting next year convened in Talladega, and was in session on the same dates as the first.

The early years of the association were largely devoted to bringing the teachers of the State into closer relations, and the sessions were given over to the reading of professional papers.

Julia Tutwiler

Julia Tutwiler


At the first meeting Miss Julia Tutwiler discussed Technical education of women. Through all the succeeding history of the association her interest never nagged, and, in the enthusiasm created and the reforms effected, she had a large share. The papers reflected the attitude of the teachers. Some of the subjects were “Graded schools.” “Normal schools,” “The study of the classics,” “Systematic instruction,” “Duty of parents to schools,” “The new education,” “Corporal punishment,” and “Uses and abuses of examinations.”

Officers in the early years

Presidents.—Capt. Henry C. Armstrong. 1882-1884; Maj. Solomon Palmer, 1884-1889; Dr. O. D. Smith, 1889-1890; Dr. James K. Powers, 1890-1891; Dr. J. H. Phillips, 1891-1892; Dr. Allen S. Andrews, 1892-1893; J. B. Graham, 1893-1894; Dr. John Massey, 1894-1895; George R. McNeill, 1895-1896; Dr. T. C. McCorvey, 1896-1897; J. B. Cunningham, 1897-1898; Dr. B. F. Meek elected 1898-1899, died, J. B. Cunningham, 1st v. p. president; J. M. Dewberry, 1899-1900; F. M. Roof, 1900-1901; Jacob Forney, 1901-1902; M. C. Wilson, 1902-1903; C. B. Glenn, 19031904; H. J. Wlllingham, 1904-1905; W. E. Striplin, 1905-1906; J. H. Foster, 1906-1907; W. R. Harrison, 1907-1908; P. W. Hodges, 1908-1909; N. R. Baker, 1909-1910; Arthur F. Harman, 1910-1911; David R. Murphey, 1911-1912; J. B. Hobdy, 1912-1913; J. V. Brown, 1913-1914; S. R. Butler, 1914-1915; Dr. Charles C. Thach, 1915-1916; Dr. James J. Doster, 1916-1917.

Secretaries.—W. W. Wilson, 1882-1884; J W. DuBose, 1884-1887; J. A. B. Lovett, 1887 1889; G. W. Macon, 1889-1891; J. W. Mor gan, Jr., 1891-1893; E. H. Foster, 1893-1895 Dr. T. C. McCorvey, 1895-1896; J. M. Dew berry, 1896-1897; Jacob Forney, 1897-1899 Dr. E. M. Shackelford, 1899-1901; H. J Willingham, 1901-1903; C. W. Daugette 1903-1904; W. C. Griggs, 1904-1916; Roy Dimmitt, 1916-1917; J. Alex Moon, 1917.


  1. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 2  By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen 1921
  2. Alabama Education Association history

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Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Needed more today than ever!

  2. My gr gr grandfather was a teacher before the war. He eloped with one of his students. Gasp. I’ve wondered when public schools started. I do not know where he taught other than around Salem, south of Opelika.

  3. The photo above, identified as Henry Clay Armstrong, who served as Alabama’s Superintendent of Education, is actually a photo of his son, Henry Clay Armstrong, Jr., according to the site you link to:

    Henry Clay Armstrong the elder was my great-great-grandfather.

    1. Thank you for the correction. It was mislabeled at the Archives.

  4. We all looked forward to AEA, which was synonymous with “one week spring vacation” from school. We didn’t have an Easter vacation like schools in other parts of the country did. We had AEA. My Aunt Glennice Hicks used to come to Montgomery from Bibb County every year to proudly attend the AEA Convention. She was a teacher and it was her professional organization. She would not have approved of what it later became.

  5. Should be labeled “The War Between The Sates” or ” The war of Southern Independence” Please look up the meaning of “Civil War”, as per Websters Dictionary. A Civil War is where one or two groups of people attempt to over throw a form of government. The South had Secceded as per the Constitution. They wanted to be left alone. The North (Under Union Command) Waged war against them. They were aready a free and seperate nation as per the Constitution. Read your founding dcuments.

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