The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees voted Friday to rename Moore Hall. The Board of Trustees unanimously voted in favor of renaming A.B. Moore Hall in honor of Archie Wade, the first Black UA faculty member (Crimson White).
Wade taught for 30 years in the Department of Kinesiology (then Health and Physical Education) before retiring in 2000.
A Tuscaloosa native, Wade coached basketball and baseball at Stillman College, his alma-mater, before playing professional baseball and earning his master’s degree at West Virginia University.
He played for legendary baseball manager Sparky Anderson as a minor league player, and he was a starter in a record-breaking 29-inning game in 1966. That same year, he led the Class A Florida League with a .338 batting average.
Wade spent two years as a recruiter for legendary UA football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant while teaching and working on his doctorate at UA.
Dr. Matt Curtner-Smith, UA professor of kinesiology, worked with Wade and co-authored “Legacy of a Pioneer African American Educator,” a paper that reconstructs Wade’s contributions. Curtner-Smith said Wade’s legacy was evident when he began working at UA.
“His story is obviously interesting and historically significant,” Curtner-Smith said. “However, on top of this, as an inexperienced assistant professor in the early 1990s, I was also struck by the incredible respect all our students had for him. They really did revere him. Having witnessed his induction into the YMCA Hall of Fame a year or so ago, I saw the same kind of affection for him among his local community. He really is one of those people about whom you do not hear a bad word.”
Wade said he still receives letters from former students, some of whom took his classes as far back as 1975.
“I’m still enjoying retirement, but I miss the relationships with students,” Wade said. “To see them grow, academically and professionally, and to have a role in that, you can’t help but miss that time with them.”
As part of the University’s “Through the Doors” activities in 2013, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of integration at UA, Wade was honored with a plaque commemorating his 30 years as a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology. The plaque is in the conference room, where Wade had an office and taught classes. He was also a founding member of the Black Faculty and Staff Association and helped lead the integration of then-Denny Stadium. In addition, Dr. Wade was also a 2015 inductee into the College of Education Hall of Fame.
“Although Dr. Wade would never describe himself as a trailblazer, he became the first African American faculty member here at the University in 1970,” Trustee John England, Jr. said. “This bold move, on his part, paved the way for the integration of minority faculty members across our system” (Crimson White).