Creating a Legacy


Courtesy of Joseph Bryant

Joseph Bryant was the first Black editor of The Crimson White from 2000 to 2001.

Madison Davis, Nineteen Fifty-Six

His stepson Copeland Johnson is a sophomore at UA. (1956 / Tyler )

There are different interpretations of the word “legacy.” For the purpose of this story, legacy refers to the children of alumni who attend the same university. If your parents attended The University of Alabama, what legacy did they leave behind for you?

Many alumni are still devoted fans of The University of Alabama’s programs, sports, campus scenery and so much more. As a result, alumni are often ecstatic to hear that their child wants to carry on the tradition and attend their alma mater. This allows families to bond over campus traditions, experiences and game days.

In fact, the University encourages the spirit of legacy. There are competitive scholarships awarded to legacies whose parents played a sport at the University. Scholarships are awarded to legacies of Bear Bryant. Legacies with one or both parents who are alumni also have an opportunity to get a scholarship.

In recent years, legacies within the Black community at the University have become more common. However, this was not always the case.

Black Americans were not allowed to attend many predominantly white universities and schools prior to the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. This court case ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional. This started the process of school integration. Even though schools were ruled to integrate in 1954, The University of Alabama did not truly integrate until 1963. Immediately after integration, very few Black students were admitted to predominantly white institutions. Yet, gradually, the presence of Black students began to grow.

The opportunity for Black students to finally attend the University of Alabama paved the way for a few generations to create a legacy here at the University. In all actuality, there has not been enough time for Black students to be fifth- or sixth-generation legacies. Nevertheless, there are Black legacies whose parents have stories to share.

Pamela Davis is an alumna of the University of Alabama. Davis graduated in 1996 with a major in electrical engineering. After graduation, she worked for Philip Morris USA in Richmond, Virginia. Her daughter is currently a sophomore at the University majoring in accounting.

During her time at the University, Davis served as a resident assistant for two years. Davis was a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and a member of the Divine Nine. She was also in a co-op program and worked off campus as a cashier.

“The University of Alabama was actually not my first choice,” said Davis.

She originally wanted to attend a historically Black university. Davis ultimately decided to attend The University of Alabama because it was in state and within her budget. She also knew that the University had a great engineering school and that the cost was reasonable.

When it came to her daughter’s college decision, Davis wanted her to go somewhere with a great campus life so that she could thrive.

Davis is a second-generation college student, making her daughter a third-generation college student. The pursuit of higher education was instilled into her family by Davis’ grandmother, who emphasized the importance of education.

Davis then instilled this value into her daughter.

“I am grateful for the legacy that began with me attending The University of Alabama, then my sister Shandrea Sellers, and now my daughter,” said Davis. “The University of Alabama is an institution where you can receive an exceptional education, have access to wonderful resources and have a great social life.”

As a family they are truly excited about the years of education received at The University of Alabama, but are even more excited about the Alabama football memories they can share. Prior to the pandemic, the Davis’ house was a hub for Alabama football fans. Game day at their house was full of food, fun and lots of laughter. On the rare occasion that Alabama was behind by a few points, the house was full of nervous yet loyal fans.

This past year they have added another momentous occasion to their legacy without even trying. Davis and Sellers both were able to experience National Championship wins.

This legacy continued for Davis’ daughter, who was also able to experience her first National Championship win last year during her freshman year.

“I am very hopeful that the Tide will continue to roll for generations to come in my family,” said Davis. “Roll Tide, roll!”

This story was published in the Legacy Edition. View the complete issue here.