Blount, Munger, Tyler Inducted into Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame
Industrialist and business leader William Houston Blount, inventor and philanthropist Robert Sylvester Munger and church leader and education advocate Mansfield Tyler were inducted into the Alabama Men’s Hall of Fame (AMHOF) Tuesday, Sept. 18.
The annual program recognized men native to or identified most closely with the state of Alabama who have made significant contributions on a state, national or international scale within their professional field. Honorees must have been deceased at least two years before they are eligible for induction. Inductees are selected by the AMHOF board of directors following a statewide nomination process.
Plaques recognizing the honorees are housed in Samford University’s Harwell G. Davis Library.
Nominations are now open for the 2019 induction class and must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2019. Further information regarding the nomination process is available on this website.
About the 2018 Honorees
William Houston Blount (1922-2011) co-founded with his brother Winton “Red” Blount the Blount Brothers Corporation, a construction firm that eventually became Vulcan Materials Company. It is the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates—crushed stone, sand and gravel—and a major producer of construction materials such as asphalt and ready-mixed concrete.
Blount joined the company in 1954 and became executive vice president in 1970 and president and chief executive officer in 1979. He led the firm in dramatic new directions, including supplying the country of Saudi Arabia with materials for the nation’s massive infrastructure projects during the 1970s.
Blount was also a community leader who gave freely of his time and expertise in support of various Birmingham charities. He was a board member of the Birmingham Museum of Art and Birmingham-Southern College, and supported such organizations as The Alabama Shakespeare Theatre, Alabama School of Arts Foundation, University of Alabama at Birmingham and others.
Robert Sylvester Munger (1854-1923) contributed significantly to Birmingham’s educational, religious and civic institutions in the early 20th century. He was best known for his patented cotton ginning processes that made the industry more efficient and created a safer work environment. After getting his workplace start in his father’s Texas cotton mill, Munger moved to Birmingham in the early 1890s and merged his company with six other factories to create Continental Gin Company.
Munger had helped create Southern Methodist University in Dallas. When Birmingham College, another Methodist institution, needed help, Munger helped provide important financial support and led a merger with Southern University in Greensboro, Alabama, to create Birmingham-Southern College in 1918.
He supported First Methodist Church and also worked to establish Highlands Methodist. Later, he supported and attended Walker Memorial Methodist in Elyton. Munger bought the 1840s Greek Revival house known today as Arlington Antebellum Home and moved his family there, saving it from destruction.
Mansfield Tyler (1826-1904) was a self-educated slave who rose from humble beginnings to represent Lowndes County in the Alabama State House of Representatives during 1870-1872. His goal was to build a strong public education system. Born near Augusta, Georgia, he came to Alabama with his owner, Reverend Jacob White, in 1854. There, he found his calling to preach the Baptist ministry.
Tyler founded the first Baptist churches of Lowndesboro and White Hall as well as the Lowndesboro School for African Americans. After being ordained in 1868, he subsequently baptized thousands of persons in the two churches.
Tyler was also one of the originators and chairman of the board of Selma University. The school conferred an honorary doctorate on him in 1890. The board also established the Tyler Medal in his honor. He was known for encouraging African Americans not only to be religious but to also get an education and acquire property.