Mebane, Albert L. (SC 1903)
Relatively little is known about Albert Leonidas Mebane, an early African American student at Massachusetts Agricultural College who enrolled in the Short Course for 1903. Probably born June 12, 1877, Mebane was one of seven children of Peter and Esther Mebane, raised on a small farm near Guilford, North Carolina. When Albert was twelve his father died and he went to live with his grandparents, Albert and Annie Mebane, in Greensboro.
After graduating from the public schools in Guilford and from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, N.C., Mebane registered in the MAC Short Course for 1903, though a note indicates that he left on January 12 for reasons unstated. He is said to have also studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and to have received a Master of Science degree in agriculture from Iowa State College.
Mebane was committed to education. After leaving MAC, he began a long career in education that included work in Historically Black Colleges and in both teaching and administration in the segregated schools of the south. In 1910 he is listed in the City Directory for Frankfort, Kentucky, as a professor at the Agricultural Normal and Industrial Institute (Kentucky State University), and in subsequent years, he appears in directories for Wilmington, N.C. (1911), as principal of the Williston School – a former freedman's school that became the philanthropic interest of Easthampton, Mass., manufacturer Samuel Williston – and in Greensboro, N.C., (1913, 1918) as an instructor at North Carolina A&T. He is said, too, to have taught at Tuskegee University.
By 1920, Mebane and his wife Blanche relocated to Florida, where he served on the faculty at Florida A&M (perhaps becoming Dean) and then, beginning in 1924, as a teacher and later principal at the Alachua County Training School. During his 27 years at ACT, Mebane helped raise educational standards for young African American students and his legacy was acknowledged in 1956 when a new African American School built in northwest Alachua County was named in his honor. When that school was integrated in Feb. 1960, it was restructured and designated the A. L. Mebane Middle School.
Albert Mebane retired in 1951 due to poor health. He and his wife Blanche had three daughers, Alberta (b. 1912), Wetona (b.1916), and Christine (b.1919). He died Jan. 7, 1962.