talladega college

A Moment in History

The Amistad Murals consists of three panels: The Revolt, The Court Scene, and Back to Africa. They are housed in Savery Library and are known as one of artist Hale Aspacio Woodruffࢥst known works.

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Released On:
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Nicola Lawler
Office of Public Relations


Talladega, Alabama—Actress, Tonea Stewart, known for her role as Aunt Etta on In the Heat of the Night will visit Talladega College. Stewart will be the guest speaker during the Black History Month Convocation on February 9th.

By day, she’s none other than, Dr. Tommie Stewart, the Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University. After teaching at Jackson State University in her home state of Mississippi for 20 years, Dr. Stewart transitioned and became the Director of Theatre Arts at ASU in 1990. She assumed her role as ASU’s Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts in 2009.

Dr. Stewart has a B.S. degree in Speech and Theatre from Jackson State University, an M.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from Florida State University. She set precedents as the first African-American female to receive a doctorate from the Florida State University School of Theatre and she was the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts. While matriculating at FSU, she also obtained a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was the first African-American to direct and appear on stage at “New Stage Theatre,” the most prestigious equity theatre in Mississippi.

On screen, she’s appeared in numerous television shows: In the Heat of the Night, Walker Texas Ranger, Memphis Beat, Matlock, Touched by an Angel, ER, and more. She’s appeared in movies for television and the big screen like, A Time to Kill, where she portrayed the wife of Samuel L. Jackson, Mississippi Burning, Body Snatchers, Constellation, The Lottery Ticket, The Rosa Parks Story, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and numerous others. Dr. Stewart was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her role in A Time to Kill. She is the radio voice of the Public Radio International Series, Remembering Slavery. Since 1969, Tonea Stewart has appeared on stages and movie sets in Canada, Mexico, South Korea, across the U.S. including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and more. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. She has honorary doctorates from Buena Vista University in Iowa and Jarvis Christian College in Texas. She has been given keys to cities across the nation.

This shining moment will begin at Talladega College, known as “The Alpha Lyrae Vega of Them All,” at 11:00 a.m. in DeForest Chapel on Thursday, February 9th. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 256-761-6212.

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Talladega College
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The history of Talladega College began on November 20, 1865, when two former slaves William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, both of Talladega, met in convention with a group of new freedmen in Mobile, Alabama.

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