HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Historic Huntsville Foundation is celebrating a father and son responsible for some of the city’s most historic construction and civil rights efforts.

An exhibit named “Brick by Brick” opened Friday to honor Henderson and Daniel Brandon, two Huntsville area civil rights activists and brick masons, known for building some of the most iconic buildings in Huntsville and laying the foundation for Alabama’s early civil rights movement.

The Brandons established what eventually became Huntsville’s most successful black-owned business and laid the foundation for the early civil rights movement in Alabama by helping African Americans secure the right to vote.

Born a slave, Henderson Brandon eventually purchased his freedom, established a brick and construction business, and built now-famous buildings with his son Daniel in Huntsville and Madison, all while being a civil rights activist.

The father-son duo founded a brick masonry firm, Henderson Brandon & Son, and used those bricks to build some of those iconic buildings in Huntsville and Madison.

Daniel Brandon was not only a businessman but he was also elected twice to Huntsville’s Board of Alderman and fought against racial injustice.

“In many cases, there is a void in the history of African Americans not only in this city but throughout the nation and so we need to tell their stories we need to let people know this generation and future generations know the contributions that African Americans have made,” Huntsville Historian Ollye Conley said.

You can still see three buildings the Brandons built:

  • Baker Helms Building: 101 Washington Street in Downtown Huntsville
  • Harrison Brothers Building: 112 Southside Square in Downtown Huntsville
  • Humphrey Bros Building: 112 Main Street in Madison

Other buildings that Henderson and Daniel built that are now demolished include the Dallas Textile Mill, the Federal Courthouse and U.S. Post Office.

The exhibit is now open at 124 South Side Square, Huntsville, AL and will remain open from now until September 16. Doors open each day at 10:00 a.m. and the exhibit closes at 5 p.m. Admission to the exhibit is free.