50th anniversary for University of Alabama integration brings chance for reunion with high school classmate

A memorable day for me as I ended up covering the same event at University of Alabama with Vasha Hunt, a classmate from high school more than 25 years ago in my hometown of Richmond, Va.

As much the 50th anniversary of the integration of the University of Alabama means to me as an African American faculty UA  member, an unexpected reunion after 25 years on June 11, 2013  meant much more.

Vasha Hunt (AKA photo v-man) is now a photojournalist based in Tuscaloosa, where I have been working at the University of Alabama as a journalism instructor for more than 10 years.

But from 1985-1989, he was a student at Thomas Jefferson High School in the West End of our hometown of Richmond, Virginia.

I can’t tell you all of the classes we had together.   But,  I know he was one of the smartest students in the school.  I always looked up to him, even though I recall he was a year behind me in school.  I graduated in 1988.

Yeh, we were in several classes together and there was always a high intensity of work and intellectual activity happening there.

On Tuesday, for a moment I felt like I was high school again as I was shooting photos at the same event that Vasha was shooting photos– the 50th anniversary of  integration of The University of Alabama at the now famous Foster Auditorium.

This sign on the jumbotron is the best marker of WHERE I was shooting photos at the event on the University of Alabama campus, where I am on faculty.

His photos were better.  Check them out on the al.com photo gallery. After all, he does this every day for the largest news web site in the state.    I’m a broadcast journalist (TV guy) at heart.

Yes, I had seen Vasha once before more than five years ago when he was working at the Opelika-Auburn News  (also in the state of Alabama).   Now we’re in the same city again,  but under very different circumstances than our beloved Richmond.

June 11, 2013 will be remembered as the day two friends re-linked and realized they’re working in the same profession.  Vasha, I know you’re been here for months– Welcome to T’town!

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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