Alabama was the 22nd state admitted to the union in 1819. As one of the southern states, Alabama was one of the slave states, and that history-based a lot of the philosophies and beliefs.
Quick Facts about Alabama
- Alabama was accepted as a state on December 14, 1819
- As of the 2019 Census, the population of Alabama was 4.903 million
- The capital city of Alabama is Montgomery
- Alabama’s Size is 52,420 square miles
- The highest point in Alabama is in the Cheaha State Part. It is 2,407 above sea level, and the Cheaha Mountain offers a breathtaking view of the area.
The state bird of Alabama is The Yellowhammer Woodpecker (Northern Flicker)
Nicknames for Alabama: The Yellowhammer State, The Cotton State, The Heart of Dixie
The Alabama state flower is the Camellia.
Land area of Alabama: 50,744 sq mi. (131,427 sq km)
Alabama has 21 State forests totaling 48,000 acres
Alabama has 222 State parks totaling 45,614 acres
What is Alabama is famous for?
Alabama was, at one time, a major agriculture society with a focus on the cotton crop.
Over the years, they have expanded into a number of industries, including
- Primary metals
The state has attracted many automobile manufacturers has become a leader in this industry.
The state also continues as the main source for iron, coal, and steel.
Alabama has established itself within the medical industry, having world-renowned medical centers.
Given the rich and fertile land and numerous farms, Alabama ranks high for their production of.
As of 2017, the unemployment rate in Alabama was 4.0%. It ranks 27th in the United States for (2017) GDP at 211 billion dollars.
Other industries that contribute to the economy include the banking industry and telecommunication.
The slave state
The steadfast support of slavery led to their participation as a member of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Even after they lost the war, the legislators in Alabama employed “Jim Crow laws” that were designed to discriminate against African Americans as well as disenfranchise them.
The disruption and blatant racism rose to a height when Alabama became the center of the American Civil Rights Movement, which included the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Both Mississippi and Alabama were at one time part of the state of Georgia. When the separation happened, it left Alabama and Mississippi landlocked. Alabama has a rectangular shape, bordered to the north by Tennessee, the east by Georgia, and the west by Mississippi.
The panhandle of Florida blocks access to the Gulf Coast, with the exception of the small area called Mobile Bay in the southwestern corner.
Indigenous people lived in the area that we call Alabama for thousands of years. One location that has been found shows that Native Americans resided there over 10,000 years ago.
They continued to live there through the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s, however, by around 1699 and into the 1700s, Europeans clashed with local tribes as they tried to expand into land ownership.
As part of the “Old South,” the people in Alabama continue to be made up of a population of those whose ancestry is mostly white Europeans, with around one-fourth of the population of Black Americans whose ancestry reaches back to the slaves that were brought to the plantations and farms.
The state has a majority religion of Christianity, mostly Protestant, with the biggest groups, including Methodists and Baptists.
One of the Poorest
While Alabama has had some progressive growth in a few of its major cities, the state is considered to be one of the poorest, with the average family income well below the average for the nation.
Poverty in rural areas that lack any stability for jobs is the main reason for Alabama being listed near the bottom for living standards. The state remains mostly agricultural, having once been a major producer of cotton.
There have been locations of progress, with the example of the city of Huntsville, Alabama, that has become well-known as “Rocket City.”
Huntsville is the location of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Space, and Rocket Center, and the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command.
The Saturn 1B Rocket at the Elkmont Alabama Welcome Center is a 224 ft tall Saturn 1B rocket. As one of three that were made in Huntsville, the state takes pride in its participation in space exploration.
Bloody Sunday – March to Freedom
Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge was the location of the March 7, 1965 “Bloody Sunday – March to Freedom” that was a critical part of the Civil Rights Movement.
Named after a racist Alabama politician who participated in the Civil War, petitions are currently being made to change the name of the bridge to the “John Lewis Bridge,” after the late Civil Rights leader and who served in the United States House of Representatives.
Birmingham, Alabama, is very proud of their “Vulcan Statue.”
Constructed in 1904, it is the world’s largest cast-iron statue, standing 56 feet tall and weighing 60 tons.
Boll Weevil Monument
Enterprise, Alabama, has the “Boll Weevil Monument” that was constructed in 1919.
The boll weevil was once a major agricultural pest that destroyed crops.
The USS Alabama (BB-60) is in Mobile, Alabama. As a South Dakota-class battleship, it was the 6th ship of the U.S. Navy and is a main attraction at the Battleship Memorial Park.
The people of Alabama are incredible football fans.
Nothing says this more than Auburn’s “Toomer’s Corner.”
Located at the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and College Street, it is a landmark location where thousands of football fans continue the tradition after every Auburn victory of “rolling Toomer’s Corner.”
Ave Maria Grotto
Cullman, Alabama as the “Ave Maria Grotto,” famed for its 125 miniature reproductions of some of the world’s most famous religious structures, it is a beautiful four-acre park that has lovely landscaping and gardens.
Birmingham, Alabama, has the 1927 Alabama Theatre in the center of the downtown area. At one time, the theater was the largest in the Birmingham Theatre District.
Important Facts in Alabama History
Both the French and the Spanish explored the area that is now called Alabama. During that time, many Native Americans had been thriving in the area. When the Europeans began to cause conflict with Native Americans in the 1600s by demanding personal land ownership and expansion, some of the Mississippian tribes gathered together to create the Creek Confederacy. Some of these tribes included the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw.
By the 1700s, ships were arriving to bring Black slaves into the southern areas to work the lands that had been taken from the Native Americans.
May 5, 1799, a U.S. Amry Lieutenant took possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish and claimed it for the United States, planting a U.S. flag. After surveyors plotted the land, they created a boundary to identify Spanish West Florida and the U.S., with a stone to mark Mobile, Alabama’s location.
Through the 1700s and 1800s, the area continued to have clashes between the European settlers in what is now Alabama and the Native Americans. March 3, 1817, Congress passed an enabling act to give the division of the Mississippi Territory and allocating the Alabama Territory. Alabama would continue to be a territory until 1819.
December 14, 1819: Alabama becomes the 22nd state of the United States.
In 1826 the capital of Alabama is relocated to Tuscaloosa, and in 1846 Montgomery is selected as the new state capital.
Throughout the 1800s, Alabama grows to become one of the south’s major sources of cotton and continues to use slaves for a majority of the labor. The heat between the northern states that want to free the Black slaves and the southern states grows with each passing year.
January 11, 1861, the Alabama Secession Convention votes to pass an Ordinance of Secession, which declares that Alabama is a “Sovereign and Independent State.” Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede from the union.
March 11, 1861, the Confederate Congress meets in Montgomery, Alabama, to create and adopt a permanent constitution for the now “Confederate States of America.”
From 1861 through 1865, Alabama was involved in the Civil War with eight naval engagements and 194 military land engagements that happened within Alabama’s borders.
With the loss of the Civil War, each of the southern states that participated had to create new state constitutions to rejoin the union. The New Alabama Constitution was adopted on September 12, 1865, but was rejected by the U.S. Congress. An adjusted version was created in 1868, allowing Alabama to rejoin the union, with the understanding that they had to comply with the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery.
Reconstruction of Alabama continued through the 1800s and into the 1900s, with expansion into industries and cotton as a major export. While the population of Black Americans in Alabama was very high, prejudice remained as part of the lifestyle in the state.
Alabama trained and sent many members into the American military during both World Wars. However, in 1941, a special group of Black American military pilots known as the “Tuskegee Airmen” became the first Black Americans to be pilots.
The division between the southern states and the rest of America continued, even though the Civil War was over. This was proven in 1948 when the Dixiecrat Convention was held in Birmingham, Alabama, with 6,000 delegates from the southern states. They chose Strom Thurmond as their candidate for President for their “States’ Rights Party.” At the time, Harry Truman was the nation’s Democratic candidate, wasn’t included on their ballots.
Segregationists were still controlling Alabama and most of the southern states. This included having separate places for Black Americans within society and excluding them with “white only” signs. One of their rules was that Black Americans were required to sit in the back of all buses and transportation and give up their seats if any white person needed them.
In 1955, a Black seamstress named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in Montgomery, Alabama and was arrested. This caused the Montgomery Bus Boycott, where all Black Americans refused to use the bus services. Rosa Parks became an iconic historical figure as an individual that helped to spark the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1960 President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicated the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, allowing the state to become one of the leaders in space and technology.
By 1961 the Civil Rights Movement was beginning to take hold. The Freedom Riders, an integrated group, taking a bus trip from Washington, D.C. through the southern states, arrived in Montgomery, Alabama, and were attacked by an angry mob of locals. The trip was designed to test the 1960 Supreme Court decision to prohibit segregation in train and bus terminals. The group had previously faced threats and violence in other Alabama towns. The Freedom Ride forced Alabama to rule against segregated facilities for travel interstate.
1965 became another pivotal year as 600 demonstrators tried three times to march from Selma, Alabama, to the Montgomery capital to demand the removal of the voting restrictions against Black Americans. The group was attacked by local and state law enforcement as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The video of the beatings and mistreatment of the marchers, later known as “Bloody Sunday,” and prompted nationwide support for those protesting.
March 21, 1965, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led 3,200 marchers towards Montgomery from Selma in a large effort to support Black American civil rights. Outside of the Alabama state capital, Rev. King spoke to 25,000 demonstrators, saying, “we are on the move now….and now a wave of racism can stop us.” This action prompted President Lyndon Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act.
As the state entered the 1970s, they elected George Wallace, one of the most outspoken racists, as governor. Wallace was campaigning for the President of the United States when he was shot and paralyzed.
Alabama continued to grow through the 1980s and 1990s, replacing much of its former crops with industrialization and factories.
In 2001, Condoleezza Rice, a Black woman, and Birmingham native was appointed to the position of National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. She was the first woman ever to be appointed to that position. By 2004 she was appointed as President Bush’s Secretary of State.