Beloved Jackson-Olin band director dies at 70

Remembering Donald Crawford

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A community is remembering the life of well-known and beloved former Jackson-Olin band director Donald Crawford.

Crawford was a beloved and well-known jazz musician and educator who also owned his own bus company that played a important role during the civil rights movement.

On Friday evening, we were at a memorial at J.O. where Crawford served as band director from 1976 until he retired in 2011. Those who knew him well say he loved Jackson-Olin. His bus company, which was started by his father, helped African-American residents get around Birmingham during the days of segregation.

Music was also big part of his life. He was an accomplished sax player who is a member of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. We're told he continued to play music up until the end.

"He worked with this band until the very end. He was actually still active and he wrote a couple arrangements for this coming year for the band. So he still leaving behind a legacy," said Johnny Williams, Crawford's nephew.

Crawford was married for over 40 years and very active in his church, he also wrote a book called "The Wheels of the Civil Rights Movement," which describes the history of the city's only black-owned bus company during the civil rights era.

His funeral is Saturday at 11 a.m. at Faith Chapel in Wylam.

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