Lincoln Normal School is a historic institution located in Perry County, Alabama. Founded in 1867, it was one of the first schools in the area to offer education to African American students. Today, the school is preserved as a museum, showcasing the history of African American education in Alabama.
Alabama State University traces its origins back to Marion, Alabama, in the years following the Civil War. A disabled Union veteran started teaching Black children to read and write and sought help from the American Missionary Association (A.M.A.) to establish formal education for Freedmen. The Lincoln School of Marion was incorporated in 1867, with a dedicated group of leaders forming the first Board of Trustees.
The school faced financial challenges as support from the A.M.A. and the Freedmen’s Bureau diminished. However, Principal Thomas Steward secured state funding and legislation for the education of teachers of colored schools. In 1873, the legislature authorized the establishment of a state normal school and university for Black students.
Over time, the institution transitioned to state control, and the Lincoln Normal School became Alabama State Lincoln Normal School, offering vocational and industrial training along with a liberal arts curriculum. In 1887, the school faced relocation efforts, and a group of Black men in Montgomery successfully secured its relocation, leading to the establishment of Alabama State University.