HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Sonnie Hereford IV retraced his steps to history Saturday morning as he reflected on the day that changed his life.

On September 9, 1963, at the tender age of six Hereford became the first Black child to integrate Alabama public schools when he started attending Huntsville’s Fifth Avenue school.

Sonnie Hereford IV surrounded by family and friends at the Fifth Avenue School Historic Marker to honor 60 years of integration in Alabama public schools.

“I really don’t remember a lot about what happened,” Hereford shared. “I remember a few events that happened while I was here and I remember a few of the stories that my father told me like the bomb threats and death threats that we got at home. My parents protected me from a lot of the ugliness at the time, and yet I knew that what I was doing was for more than myself and more than my family even”

What Hereford did remember was the walk he and hist father took along Governors Drive 60 years ago. The pair had been turned away several times before finally gaining admission.

Ten years ago Hereford and his father reenacted the walk in honor of the 50th anniversary. Today, he walked the same path quietly, this time with his daughters and grandson by his side.

About two dozen people came to watch the 50-yard trek with an “overwhelming” sense of emotion. In his hand was a replica of the Huntsville Times newspaper commemorating integration.

“I walked part of the way and handed the sign to my daughters,” Hereford said. “They walked part of the way and handed the sign to my grandson and he walked the rest of the way. To me that symbolizes that what my parents and the other leaders and the other participants in the movement, what they did was not just for themselves and not just for that time. But it was for all generations and so I’m very proud that we were able to pass this on to all the generations to come.”

Children and young teens attended the celebration Saturday morning. Some could be seen reading the printed articles on the sign Hereford carried. Others greeted Hereford with a handshake and “thank you” for his contribution to the desegregation of Alabama public schools.

Today, Huntsville City Schools thrives with a diverse set of students and its first Black male appointed as Superintendent. As for the Hereford family, they want to make sure opportunities like these continue through education and equality.

“I want to make sure that we’re training the next generations of historians and teachers and librarians to also think about who’s stories are missing and how do we amplify them,” said Sonnie’s daughter Beth.

Hereford’s grandson Maren says the next generation can make a difference one step at a time.

“I think the most important thing our generation right now can do is reach out to each other and make sure that we all stay informed and are aware of what’s happening and work together in order to organize and move forward,” he said.

Sonnie and his daughter Beth will be speaking about the 60th anniversary of Huntsville Schools desegregation at the North Huntsville Public Library Sunday at 3 p.m.