Samford University The BelltowerFebruary 2005

Old Howard 100 Bike Ride

The Old Howard 100:
Ride Through Alabama History

“...Join cyclists from throughout the region on April 9, 2005, for The Old Howard 100, a ride through Alabama’s historic Black Belt sponsored by Samford’s Howard College of Arts & Sciences. Proceeds from the ride will benefit Sowing Seeds of Hope, a partnership between Perry County and Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship that seeks to improve the quality of life and work in Perry County through improved educational opportunities, healthcare, tourism, transportation and economic development...”

Join cyclists from throughout the region on April 9, 2005, for The Old Howard 100, a ride through Alabama’s historic Black Belt sponsored by Samford’s Howard College of Arts & Sciences. Proceeds from the ride will benefit Sowing Seeds of Hope, a partnership between Perry County and Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship that seeks to improve the quality of life and work in Perry County through improved educational opportunities, healthcare, tourism, transportation and economic development.

The ride, which features 30, 52 and 100-mile route options and five SAG stops, will begin at 9 a.m. at Marion Military Institute, site of Samford’s last campus in Marion.

The Old Howard 100 is only the most recent Samford University initiative to promote awareness of and appreciation for Alabama’s Black Belt. The University was born there as Howard College in 1841. The Baptist college, which took its name from the 18th century English prison reformer John Howard, thrived in Marion thanks in large measure to the generosity of the town's citizens.

The magnificent antebellum homes still standing in Marion and throughout the Black Belt bear witness to the region’s great wealth and cultural importance at the time of Howard’s founding. But, after the Civil War, the region suddenly found itself in an economic freefall from which it has never fully recovered.

As the Black Belt’s fortunes waned, boosters from Birmingham, Marion’s new industrial neighbor to the north, offered generous incentives for Howard’s relocation to the East Lake community near the booming city. The Alabama State Baptist Convention accepted Birmingham’s offer and moved the college to East Lake in 1887.

The college relocated to its current home in Shades Valley in 1957 and became Samford University in 1965. Howard College of Arts and Sciences remains at the heart of Samford, and in recent years the University has sought to repay the kindness and generosity that sustained the college in its early decades.

Old Howard survived fires, wars, financial and cultural upheaval, relocations and renaming to become one of the top universities in the southeastern United States. Now, it returns to its birthplace with volunteer tutors, health care workers and community boosters. Now, it returns with its cycling friends, who will find there natural beauty, rich history, cause for both concern and hope and, above all, a warm welcome.

For directions to Marion, Old Howard 100 route details, updates, links, lodging contacts and electronic registration, visit the Old Howard 100 web site:
www.samford.edu/groups/oldhoward100

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