Gallery opens on campus

The third floor of the Foote-Hilyer Administrative Center now includes a historical gallery that takes students and visitors on a trip through FAMU’s history.

The newly opened Leedell W. Neyland FAMU Gallery, consisting of 28 photos, shows enlarged photos of FAMU students and various events.

Originally named the State Normal College for Colored Students, FAMU has experienced many triumphs and hardships throughout the years.

FAMU once faced the threat of being merged with Florida State University during the integration period of the 1970s; however, students marched and protested in order to keep FAMU an educational haven for black students.

During the 1960s, FAMU students, faculty and staff played an intricate part in the civil rights movement.

In 1989, the world renown “Marching 100” performed in Paris during a European tour.

And these are only some of the historical events captured on the walls of Foote-Hilyer, available for students curious of the University’s past.

This rich collection of photos is dedicated to Leedell W. Neyland, who served FAMU for more than 45 years. Neyland earned his undergraduate degree from Virginia State University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from New York University.

Neyland has served as a Professor of History, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as Vice President for Academic Affairs throughout his tenure at FAMU.

Neyland has worked hard to preserve FAMU’s history, and said that is where his greatest satisfaction comes from.

The idea to open and dedicate this gallery to Neyland was suggested by Larry Reese, vice president for Administrative and Fiscal Services, and Provost Larry Robinson, Vice President for Academic Affairs.

E. Murell Dawson, director of the Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum at FAMU, made this unique idea a reality.

Freshman political science student Jerica Dowling said she loves the new art gallery.

“The Leeland W. Neyland Gallery is a beautiful collection. I advise all the students to go see it,” Dowling said. “It is important that students learn about the history of our great school.”

“I never would have known that Foote-Hilyer used to be a hospital if it were not for the new art gallery.”

By visiting the gallery, Eunika Russell, a sophomore education student, said she has also found time to learn about the rich tradition of FAMU.

“I was captured by the pictures of Althea Gibson and the other great athletes of the past,” Russel said.

“I was intrigued when I learned that Tucker Hall used to be a boys dormitory and Gibbs Hall a female dormitory,” she added.

Neyland was honored by the dedication.

“If we could learn and sincerely appreciate the historical lessons of the past, they will make firm foundation stones upon which to build as we look to the future with hope and great expectations,” Neyland said.

The new art gallery on the third floor of Foote-Hilyer has unlocked the rich history of FAMU and is open for all to observe.

Contact Will Ayers Jr. at