Hampton University
Talladega College Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Official Grand Opening of New Museum Named for Alumnus and Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey, Home of the Amistad Murals
02/03/2020 - #166

Talladega, Alabama (Feb. 3, 2020) — Hundreds of Talladegians, students, faculty, staff, alumni, local and state officials, as well as other leaders in higher education, braved the cold temperature and threat of rain to be on-site for the historic homecoming for alumnus and Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey.  Harvey, a member of the class of 1961, and his family’s record gift of $1.3 million to Talladega College was monumental in the creation of the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, the new permanent home for the world-renowned Amistad Murals, painted by Hale Woodruff, located on the Historically Black College campus.  

"Talladega College has done so much for me and others," Dr. Harvey said. "It's a real pleasure for me to be able to support Talladega, its students, its president, and its faculty."

Talladega College’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Lisa Long presided over the ribbon cutting ceremony that featured remarks from more than 25 speakers ranging from Talladega’s President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins, past and present chairmen of Talladega’s Board of Trustees, Talladega’s current Student Government President, campus faculty and staff, CEO of the United Negro College Fund, U.S. Department of Education Representatives, City and State Representatives, other college presidents and the curators responsible for the care and restoration of the Amistad Murals.  

The ceremony was brought to a close with a standing ovation for an emotional Dr. Harvey whose remarks reflected on the immense impact that Talladega has made on his personal life and historic career as a leader in higher education and in business. He also shared priceless information to the current students at Talladega, who will carry the responsibility of forging the next chapter in their institution’s history.

“I want you all to know that the Lord has ordered my steps,” said Dr. Harvey. “I could not have done all the things that I have done if it were not for the Lord. One of the things that Talladega taught me is that Talladega folk care. I hope that some of you older Talladegians remember people like Dr. Hopson and Ms. Montgomery, Professor Harrison and many others.”

“Understanding the impact alone that this institution has played in my life and recognizing the importance of giving back and supporting Black colleges is the primary reason that Dr. Hawkins came to my office. And I am just as happy as I could be. I hope that some of you can continue this. I like to raise money for worthy causes and this is absolutely a worth cause.  For those students that are here, I want you to know how fortunate you are to be a part of this great legacy that is Talladega College. The kind of leadership you have is absolutely outstanding. Board members, continue to support him, because he needs support,” said Dr. Harvey.

“If any one really wants to be a leader, if anyone really wants to be great, if anyone really wants to be a person of honor, I want to tell you something, to both the young and old, you must do what Jesus said, serve others,” said Dr. Harvey.

In addition to housing and preserving the Amistad Murals and other works of historic and artistic value, the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art will help maintain the legacy of Woodruff and advance local, regional and national tourism.

In 2008, Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins had the murals removed from the walls of Savery Library, where they had hung for almost 70 years, and had them appraised. They were valued at $40 million, but in danger of disintegrating. With the assistance of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, the murals were restored and sent on a three-year, eight-city tour. They received rave reviews from the New York Times and the value of the historic collection soared to $50 million.

Tours at the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art will begin in March.

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