Recipients of the: Legacy Award in Music Education

Richard Nelson

Richard Nelson started his band career at Lincoln High School in Marion, Alabama. Lincoln High School is of note because it is where Alabama State University was founded in 1867, before the school relocated to Montgomery, Alabama in 1887, twenty years after its founding.

Nelson has taught band for over thirty years, teaching a wide range of students in the basic fundamentals of music. Nelson recalls having taught "very good" music students. He has also taught some of the largest band programs in the Montgomery Public Schools. During his tenure, Nelson was one of the first band directors reassigned to a previously white only school in the turbulent years of racial desegregation. In the process of desegregating the Montgomery School System, several of Nelson's music students also transferred to previously white only Junior High Schools.

During the 1960's a number of Nelson's high school students left still segregated schools and became among the first wave of black students to attend the previously all-white University of Alabama, which desegregated in 1963, as well as Auburn University, which desegregated in 1964.

Several of Nelson's music students went on to become band directors locally and in other parts of the nation, while a few others went on to become accomplished professional musicians. Both sets of students have made Nelson "very proud."

Alabama State University

Levi Watkins Library

Upcoming and Recent Programs

Art & Jazz: The Colvin-Feagin Annual Community Show


Presented by The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University

Exhibit Opening and Artists' Reception
Featuring Local Artists and Live Jazz

Friday, July 22, 2016 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
1345 Carter Hill Road | Montgomery, Alabama

View the flyer >>

Genealogy Workshop


FACILITATOR: Frazine K. Taylor
MLIS, CPM, Genealogist

TOTAL COST: $45 per person

Saturday, July 23, 2016 │9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
For more information and registration, visit or call 334-229-4106


View the flyer >>

The Journey to Freedom: A Mural in Eight Parts


A Visual Interpretation of African-Americans’ Struggle for Recognition as Human Beings and First-Class Citizens

Commissioned by The National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African-American Culture at Alabama State University

Find Out More

Cultural Spotlights

> Older news...