University to Present Documentary on Integration of Crimson Tide at Ferguson Theater

  • October 13th, 2013
  • in News
UA alumnus Keith Dunnavant

By Kirsten J. Barnes
Graduate Assistant

The University of Alabama will present “How Integration Turned The Tide: Three Days at Foster,” a documentary film by UA alumnus Keith Dunnavant. 7-9 p.m. October 17 at the Ferguson Center Theater. The program is sponsored by the UA National Alumni Association, the College of Continuing Studies, and Division of Community Affairs.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the integration of UA, this story brings to life stories of civil rights pioneers who shattered the athletic color barrier at The University of Alabama.

In a recent interview with, Dunnavant said:

“ ‘Three Days at Foster’ reflects my point of view that the athletes who shattered the color barrier at the University of Alabama – including the unknown Bama football walk-ons of 1967 – deserve to be recognized as civil rights pioneers. They weren’t just gifted athletes; they were brave young men who attacked and ultimately destroyed the last bastion of segregation in the state.

“Even in George Wallace’s Alabama, even as the state was deeply divided by the explosive matter of race, there was a force more powerful than hate ready to be tapped. Alabama football played a significant role in healing the festering wounds of the Sixties – helping us as a culture see beyond black and white,” Dunnavant said.

The largely heretofore untold story will feature the barrier-shattering athletes who maneuvered in the shadow of Gov. George Wallace’s 1963 stand in the schoolhouse door, including Wilbur Jackson, Dock Rone and Wendell Hudson.

Jackson, who was a 1974 NFL first-round and ninth overall draft pick in 1974, would go on to play for the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins. Rone joined the Crimson Tide in 1967 as a walk-on. In the film Rone says he felt he could break the color barrier by going to talk to Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and telling him he wanted to play football.

Hudson, the former UA women’s head basketball coach, played basketball at UA from 1969 to 1973. He began his coaching career as an assistant men’s coach before going on to coach at North Alabama, Rice, Ole Miss and Baylor.

In the film Hudson said although he thought about quitting the team, he knew he could not leave because if he left the program it would be hard for other minorities to be accepted on the team. In 1986 Hudson switched from coaching men’s basketball to coaching women’s basketball, first at McLennan Community College in Wao, Texas, before returning to Alabama as head coach of women’s basketball from 2008-2013.
The film will show how these athletes and coaches navigated the minefield of social change. After the event there will be discussions with UA personnel who experienced these turbulent days of change at the Capstone.

Dunnavant, the best-selling author of the Bear Bryant biography Coach as well as The Missing Ring, began covering Alabama football as a teenager.

“Three Days at Foster” is an official selection of the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham and became the first historical sports documentary to launch through Vimeo On Demand in August.

In his interview, Dunnavant said: “The world is changing, so we are releasing this film in a cutting-edge way that makes it easily accessible by Alabama fans everywhere.” To download the film for $4.95, visit: