Samford University

+
Print this page

King, Stockham To Be Inducted Into Alabama Men's Hall of Fame

Posted onMedia Contact
2009-08-18Mary Wimberley, phone (205) 726-2922, e-mail mlwimber@samford.edu

Minister and social activist Martin Luther King Jr., and Birmingham manufacturer Herbert Clark Stockham have been named to the Alabama Men's Hall of Fame.

Dr. King (1929-1968), America's most significant civil rights leader of the mid-20th century and recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, achieved many successes in advancing the cause of civil rights while leading campaigns in Alabama.

Stockham (1888-1958), former president and chairman of Stockham Valves and Fittings, Inc., was known for combining his abilities as engineer, manufacturer and entrepreneur with a true spirit of Christian philanthropy.

They will be inducted during the Hall of Fame's annual luncheon Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 11:30 a.m. at The Club in Birmingham. For information and reservations, call (205) 726-2362.

Founded by the Alabama legislature in 1987, the hall recognizes men "whose lives have impacted the state, nation and world." Honorees must have been deceased for two years. Hall board members represent Alabama's seven congressional districts. The Birmingham Women's Committee of 100 sponsors the program. The hall is located in Samford University's Davis Library.

Founded by the Alabama legislature in 1987, the hall recognizes men "whose lives have impacted the state, nation and world." Honorees must have been deceased for two years. Hall board members represent Alabama's seven congressional districts. The Birmingham Women's Committee of 100 sponsors the program. The hall is located in Samford University's Davis Library.

King was pastor of Montgomery's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in the mid-1950s when he helped to organize a boycott of city buses. Later, while serving at Ebenezer Baptist Church in his native Atlanta, Ga., King worked with Birmingham minster Fred Shuttlesworth on a campaign against racial inequality in the Magic City.

His arrest by Birmingham police officers in April, 1963, for violating a court injunction prohibiting street demonstration without a permit led to an eight-day incarceration, during which he began composing his "Letter from Birmingham Jail." That May, images of police dogs and fire houses being used on protesters were shown by media outlets around the world. King later credited the images from Birmingham with moving the nation toward the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

King returned to Alabama often to preach in black pulpits, and in September, 1963, gave a eulogy at the joint funeral of three of the four girls killed in the bombing of Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

King later helped organize the Selma-to-Montgomery march to press for voting rights. The subsequent Voting Rights Act of 1965 guaranteed blacks the right to vote. He was murdered in Memphis, Tenn., in 1968. He and his wife, Coretta Scott King, who was from Perry County, Alabama, had four children: Yolanda Denise, Martin Luther III, Dexter Scott and Bernice Albertine.

Stockham developed the foundry business his father founded in 1903 into an international company, at the same time providing many services and facilities for his employees and the community.

He began work at the Birmingham company as a teenage draftsman, designing equipment and machines for use in the foundry, and by working alongside the hired laborers, learning the ways of the workingman. Advancing in the business, he was elected vice president in 1917, president in 1923 and chairman of the board in 1947.

An organizer and second president of the Board of Associated Industries of Alabama, he was president of the National Association of Fittings Manufacturers.

The company operated under the Stockham Credo-also called the Golden Rule in action, a business philosophy that the company should improve the lives and living standards of its work force. To that end, the company opened its own medical dispensary and encouraged sports and recreation with the installation of bowling alleys, lighted baseball and softball diamonds, and tennis courts. Lifelong Methodists, the Stockham family promoted the spiritual life of employees and were supportive of Lake Junaluska Methodist Camp in North Carolina and Birmingham-Southern College.

Stockham and his wife, Virginia, had two children, Virginia "Ginger," Stockham Ladd and Herbert Cannon Stockham.

close x