Educator; university president; attorney. Born– July 12, 1848, Fayetteville, N.C. Parents– William and Mary Jane Councill. Married– Maria H. Weeden, September 5, 1885.  Children–four. Education–attended one of the first schools established for African-Americans after the Civil War, in Stevenson, AL, 1865-1867; otherwise privately tutored and self-educated (studied Latin, mathematics, chemistry, and law). Ph. D. Morris Brown College.  First black attorney admitted to the Alabama bar, 1883 (but neber practiced law).   Began teaching in 1867; served as principal of Hunstville Colored School; as chief enrolling clerk for the Alabama House of Representatives, 1872-1874; as receiver for the general land office for the northern district of Alabama, 1875. Appointed principal of the newly created Alabama State Normal and Industrial School at Huntsville in 1875;  served as its president until his death in 1909.  Instrumental in the selection of the school as the black land-grant institution in Alabama under the Morrill Act of 1890, when it was renamed the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College. Founder and editor of weekly newspaper Huntsville Herald, 1877-1884.  An ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church; founded St. John A. M.E. Church in Huntsville, 1885.   Died April 17, 1909.


Biographical Dictionary of American Educators, vol. 1; Dictionary of American Negro Biography (1982); Who Was Who in America online and Who Was Who in Alabama.


Bright Side of the Southern Question. Speech Delivered at Corona, Ala., August 25, 1903. Huntsville, Ala.; Hay Printing Co., 1978.

Lamp of Wisdom; or, Race History Illuminated …. Nashville; Haley, 1898.

Negro Development in the South.  1901.

The Servant Problem in the South. Extracts from Speeches. Normal, Ala.; s.n., 1901.