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James K. Powers, A. M.

Contributor: Pat M. Mahan


JAMES K. POWERS, A. M., President of the State Normal College, at Florence, Ala., was born in Lauderdale county, August 15, 1851. He was educated at the Florence Wesleyan university, and university of Alabama, and was a tutor in the former institution in 1870-71. In 1873 he was graduated from the state university, with the degree of master of arts, when that institution was granting that as a graduating degree, for a grade of ninety or over in every department in the institution. Immediately after his graduation, he was appointed professor of mathematics in the state normal college. In 1888 he was elected president of the normal college, and was re-elected in 1890 and in 1892. Under his presidency the normal college has reached the highest point of efficiency and attendance in its history. The average attendance in 1891 was 291, whereas the highest enrollment, previous to his election to the presidency, never exceeded 240 in any one year. It has attained the position of a normal school, principally under his management. Prof. Powers was one of the originators of the Alabama Educational association, and has served as chairman of the executive committee for two years, and president for one year. He has a very extensive acquaintance among the teachers of the south, and has probably supplied more places with teachers than any other man in the south. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, is a Knight of Pythias, and is a past grand dictator for the state in the order of the Knights of Honor. He was married January 30, 1879, at Nashville, Tenn., to Miss Lulu Reynolds, daughter of the late Calvin A. Reynolds of Giles county. As Prof. Powers' connection with the normal college dates from the first day of the firs session he is now completing his twentieth year's service. Every graduate and under-graduate sent out by the institution (hundreds in number) has passed through his hands. These fill many of the most important positions in Alabama. To know these facts is to realize the influence that Prof. Powers has had in molding the educational sentiment of the state.


Source: Memorial Record of Alabama. Vol. II. Brant & Fuller. Madison, Wis., 1893. pp. 366-367

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