1. Historic Markers

St. Joseph’s Mission School

The first integrated elementary education classes in the state of Alabama took place quietly and peacefully here September 3, 1963.

St. Joseph’s Mission, church and school, was founded by the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians) to serve the African American community of Madison County. In early fall of 1963, twelve white students submitted applications and were accepted for admission. The event is noted not only for the initial integration of elementary schools in Alabama but also for its “reverse” integration nature.

In 1979, St. Joseph’s School merged with St. Mary’s School and the combined school, named Holy Family School, continues to operate on this site.

“Religion along with education… that’s the reason it works.” Rev. Mark Sterbenz, S.D.S. (Pastor, St. Joseph’s Mission, 1961 – 1967)


  • St. Joseph’s Mission School - Image 1
  • St. Joseph’s Mission School - Image 2
  • St. Joseph’s Mission School - Image 3
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