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Meet the Huntsville Hospital Food & Nutrition Supervisor Keeping Local History Alive

February 20, 2024 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
William Hampton stands next to historical sign.

Decades ago, William Hampton’s devotion to Huntsville history ignited when a teacher’s criticisms about his beloved hometown spurred him to defend his community.

William set out to prove his instructor wrong by writing a term paper about the history and positive aspects of Huntsville. The paper, which earned an A, set the stage for Huntsville Revisited, a popular platform celebrating the city’s rich past.

For Black History Month, we’re spotlighting the Huntsville Hospital Food and Nutrition Supervisor who has witnessed his collection of historic photos and stories attract more than 30,000 followers on social media since 2008. In 2020, William also opened a physical museum for the Huntsville Revisited brand, open by appointment on 2007 N. Memorial Parkway, Suite O.

Connecting current generations with people, places and events of the past has been a privilege for William, who said the stories of many Huntsvillians have been left out of the history books.

“I’ve had members of the Huntsville Revisited site reunite with family members who they have lost touch with, old teachers, old neighborhood buddies, and more,” he said. “It’s truly a front-porch experience, which draws the community together across social lines, racial lines and political lines.”

Bringing people together

Huntsville Revisited is a beacon for stories, emphasizing not only well-known figures but also the contributions of everyday people. From children as young as 10 to adults as seasoned as 90, Huntsville Revisited brings people who share a common love for the city together.

For those who aren’t tech savvy or able to visit the physical museum, William also volunteers his time to bring the Huntsville Revisited experience to their doorstep or, in some cases, bedside.

“I’ve been invited to nursing homes and assisted living facilities, especially for some of the dementia and Alzheimer’s patients,” he said. “They might not remember this morning or yesterday, but when they see these pictures from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, many of them chime right in. They remember these things, so the Huntsville Revisited page is therapeutic in that sense.”

A community advocate

In addition to his work with Huntsville Revisited, William has been busy with “Resemble,” a Black History Month exhibit at the Dr. Richard Showers, Sr. Recreation Center. The project features paintings, drawings, photos and other visual art created by local artists to tell the untold stories of those who quietly helped make Huntsville what it is today.

Through a partnership with the State Department, William will soon host a group of international high school students who are interested in learning more about Huntsville. The history junkie is also supporting Grissom High School students on a project focusing on African American farmers and helping 103.1 WEUP, Alabama’s oldest Black-owned radio station, secure a historic marker.

William, who will be featured this spring in a PBS documentary, “States of America,” also assists the Huntsville City Schools EarthScope Environmental Education Department, as well as LearningQuest, a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to building a learning community for adults.

Making people smile

Huntsville Revisited and numerous side hustles aren’t the only projects keeping William occupied. He also serves as a board member for the Huntsville Pilgrimage Association, Scottsboro Boys Museum and Huntsville Historical Society.

Celebrating 10 years at Huntsville Hospital this July, William is walking in the footsteps of his grandfather who also worked at the hospital in the 1930s. He loves what he does and considers it an honor to bring a smile to the faces of patients and visitors each day.

“Other than coming here to have a baby or something like that, most people aren’t coming to the hospital to have a pleasant experience,” he said. “Whatever I can do to help lighten someone’s load, to help cheer them up, is worth it.”