Malone — later Vivian Malone Jones — became the university’s first African American graduate in 1965. She had a long career at the Environmental Protection Agency before her death in 2005.
Mr. Hood, who completed his education elsewhere, became a deputy police chief under Mayor Coleman Young of Detroit in the 1970s. He retired in 2002 as an administrator of police science at the Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin. He returned to the University of Alabama in 1995 and received a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies in 1997.
James Alexander Hood was born Nov. 10, 1942, in Gadsden, where his father was a tractor operator at a Goodyear tire factory.
“Jimmy” Hood, as he was known, was a standout athlete and student body leader at Gadsden’s Carver High School. The summer he was 17, he was a manager at the town’s all-black swimming pool and decided to help friends integrate a white swimming pool. Everyone but Mr. Hood was arrested.
“They didn’t want to arrest me because then the black pool would close and they’d have a problem on their hands,” he told The Post in 1995.
He won a scholarship to study at Clark College in Atlanta and was active in King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Mr. Hood said he was persuaded by civil rights leaders to apply for admission into the University of Alabama. Where the form asked for his race, he wrote: “Negro, American Negro.”
He was denied a place at the college because of his race, and eventually a federal judge ordered Mr. Hood’s admission to the state school. He subsequently graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit and received a master’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University in 1972.
His marriages to Carolyn Ragland and Norma Turner ended in divorce. Survivors include a son from his first marriage; two sons from his second marriage; two daughters from relationships; two brothers; three sisters; and nine grandchildren.
A sister, Brenda Marshall, confirmed the death and said her brother had complications from a stroke. He was a longtime Madison, Wis., resident and most recently lived in Gadsden.
Reflecting on race relations in 1995, Mr. Hood told The Post that he had seen “tremendous progress” and expressed a dislike for tactics by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders he found confrontational and polarizing.
In an increasingly multicultural society, he said, “everyone is colored and everyone is a minority.” Civil rights are “not rights for black people, but rights for all people,” he said. “Equality. The freedom to become someone.”