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Plans are set to honor a hometown hero in the City of Ozark

Published: Mar. 30, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Wilbur Jackson. The name is known by many in the Ozark community.

“Wilbur is one of those people Wilbur loves Ozark and everybody in Ozark loves Wilbur.”

Jackson got his education locally at D.A Smith and Carroll High School, then moved on to make history in our state.

“He just kind of broke the ice 50 years ago being the first African American to sign a scholarship with the University of Alabama,” said Mark Blankenship - The City of Ozark Mayor.

Jackson went on to be a first round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers.

Now the city is honoring Jackson with a mural. Standing 26 feet tall by 86 feet wide, Mayor Blankenship was hoping for this to be a surprise, but the secret came out.

“I reached out to his daughter months back and talked to her and of course she said dad is over all of this recognition he doesn’t want to be recognize and I said we don’t have to talk to Wilbur he can stay in his recliner and we can do this mural and well a couple weeks ago we let Wilbur know and he was just funny about it he was extremely humble and doesn’t like a big fuss about it but I think he is going to be excited about it when he sees it.”

While this is just the start to the new Ozark Mural Program, the city hopes to continue and grow this program to honor more hometown heroes.

“It records our history we have to get easements on these buildings so we have protection on the murals once we put them up so we are hoping they will be there for the long term and a lot of the younger generation today that doesn’t even know this information about Wilbur so it’s a way for us to continue our history by displaying it on these murals,” said Blankenship.

If you would be interested in helping out with this new program, the city is accepting tax-deductible donations.

Donations can be sent by mail to:

City of Ozark / Mural Program

PO Box 1987

Ozark, AL 36361

or by vising the donation website.

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