Foundation Logo

Please note: Guided tours are temporarily on hiatus. 

Photo courtesy: The Tuscaloosa News

Stop 9: Alston Building & the KKK 2400 6th Street

The Alston Building (also known as the Alston Place Building) is a seven-story office building located on the corner of Greensboro Avenue (originally called Market Street) and 6th Street in downtown Tuscaloosa. Built in 1909 on the site of the former Tuscaloosa County Courthouse, it was praised as Tuscaloosa’s first “skyscraper” and locals bragged that it was the “tallest building east of Chicago on a dirt road.” Its namesake, Samuel Fitts Alston, was a city alderman and president of City National Bank. Former Alabama governors George and Lurleen Burns Wallace were married in the Alston Building at the former justice of the peace office. 

During the civil rights movement, the Alston Building housed the of fice of Robert Shelton, Imperial Wizard of the United Klans of America (UKA). From his three-room suite on the fourth floor, Shelton directed one of the largest and most powerful Klan groups in the country. His followers numbered in the thousands, though many more backed the Klan’s belief in white supremacy. By the 1980s, membership had dwindled to 1,500 after UKA members were indicted by a grand jury in connection with violent racial events in Talledega County. The group was later bankr upted after a laws uit granted Michael Donald’s mother $7 million after her teenage son was lynched by Klansmen in Mobile.

Skip to content