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Tyler of Lowndesboro to be inducted to Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame

Special to the Signal

Industrialist and business leader William Houston Blount, inventor and philanthropist Robert Sylvester Munger and church leader and education advocate Mansfield Tyler of Lowndesboro, a self-educated slave who represented Lowndes County in the Alabama State House of Representatives during 1870-1872 and who founded the Lowndesboro School for African Americans, will be inducted into the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame (AMHOF) Tuesday, Sept. 18.

The annual program recognizes men native to or identified most closely with the state of Alabama who have made significant contributions on a state, national or international scale within their professional field. Honorees must have been deceased at least two years before they are eligible for induction.

Inductees are selected by the AMHOF board of directors following a statewide nomination process. Plaques recognizing the honorees are housed in Samford University’s Harwell G. Davis Library.

The public is invited to the induction luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at The Club, Inc., in Birmingham. Reservations are required and are $35 per person or $280 for a table of eight. The deadline for reservations is Monday, Sept. 10. Contact Mrs. Ross Mason, reservation chairman, to reserve a place by calling 205/968-0967 or emailing rebecca@shelbysys.com.

ABOUT THE HONOREES:

Mansfield Tyler (1826-1904) was a self-educated slave who rose from humble beginnings to represent Lowndes County in the Alabama State House of Representatives during 1870-1872. His goal was to build a strong public education system. Born near Augusta, Ga., he came to Alabama with his owner, Reverend Jacob White, in 1854. There, he found his calling to preach the Baptist ministry.

Tyler founded the first Baptist churches of Lowndesboro and White Hall as well as the Lowndesboro School for African Americans. After being ordained in 1868, he subsequently baptized thousands of persons in the two churches.

Tyler was also one of the originators and chairman of the board of Selma University. The school conferred an honorary doctorate on him in 1890. The board also established the Tyler Medal in his honor. He was known for encouraging African Americans not only to be religious but to also get an education and acquire property.

William Houston Blount (1922-2011) co-founded with his brother Winton “Red” Blount the Blount Brothers Corporation, a construction firm that eventually became Vulcan Materials Company. It is the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates—crushed stone, sand and gravel—and a major producer of construction materials such as asphalt and ready-mixed concrete.

Robert Sylvester Munger (1854-1923) contributed significantly to Birmingham’s educational, religious and civic institutions in the early 20th century. He was best known for his patented cotton ginning processes that made the industry more efficient and created a safer work environment. After getting his workplace start in his father’s Texas cotton mill, Munger moved to Birmingham in the early 1890s and merged his company with six other factories to create Continental Gin Company.