Alabama (/ˌæləˈbæmə/) is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th largest by area and the 24th-most populous of the U.S. states. With a total of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of inland waterways, Alabama has among the most of any state.
Alabama is nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the state bird. Alabama is also known as the "Heart of Dixie" and the "Cotton State". The state tree is the longleaf pine, and the state flower is the camellia. Alabama's capital is Montgomery. The largest city by population is Birmingham, which has long been the most industrialized city; the largest city by land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists in 1702 as the capital of French Louisiana.
From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many states in the southern U.S., suffered economic hardship, in part because of its continued dependence on agriculture. Similar to other former slave states, Alabamian legislators employed Jim Crow laws to disenfranchise and otherwise discriminate against African Americans from the end of the Reconstruction Era up until at least the 1970s. Despite the growth of major industries and urban centers, white rural interests dominated the state legislature from 1901 to the 1960s. During this time, urban interests and African Americans were markedly under-represented. Following World War II, Alabama grew as the state's economy changed from one primarily based on agriculture to one with diversified interests. The state's economy in the 21st century is based on management, automotive, finance, manufacturing, aerospace, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and technology.
|State of Alabama|
|Motto(s): Latin: Audemus jura nostra defendere We dare defend our rights|
|State song(s): "Alabama"|
|Spoken languages||As of 2010
|Largest metro||Greater Birmingham|
|• Total||52,419 sq mi |
|• Width||190 miles (305 km)|
|• Length||330 miles (531 km)|
|• % water||3.20|
|• Latitude||30° 11' N to 35° N|
|• Longitude||84° 53' W to 88° 28' W|
|• Total||4,887,871 (2018)|
|• Density||94.7 (2011 est.)/sq mi (36.5 (2011 est.)/km2)|
|• Median household income||$44,509 (47th)|
|• Highest point||Mount Cheaha|
2,413 ft (735.5 m)
|• Mean||500 ft (150 m)|
|• Lowest point||Gulf of Mexico|
|Before statehood||Alabama Territory|
|Admission to Union||December 14, 1819 (22nd)|
|Governor||Kay Ivey (R)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Will Ainsworth (R)|
|• Upper house||Senate|
|• Lower house||House of Representatives|
|U.S. Senators||Richard Shelby (R)|
Doug Jones (D)
|U.S. House delegation||6 Republicans |
1 Democrat (list)
|• most of state||Central: UTC −6/−5|
|• Phenix City area||Eastern: UTC −5/−4|
The European-American naming of the Alabama River and state was derived from the Alabama people, a Muskogean-speaking tribe whose members lived just below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers on the upper reaches of the river. In the Alabama language, the word for a person of Alabama lineage is Albaamo (or variously Albaama or Albàamo in different dialects; the plural form is Albaamaha). The suggestion that "Alabama" was borrowed from the Choctaw language is unlikely. The word's spelling varies significantly among historical sources. The first usage appears in three accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540: Garcilaso de la Vega used Alibamo, while the Knight of Elvas and Rodrigo Ranjel wrote Alibamu and Limamu, respectively, in transliterations of the term. As early as 1702, the French called the tribe the Alibamon, with French maps identifying the river as Rivière des Alibamons. Other spellings of the name have included Alibamu, Alabamo, Albama, Alebamon, Alibama, Alibamou, Alabamu, Allibamou.
Sources disagree on the word's meaning. Some scholars suggest the word comes from the Choctaw alba (meaning "plants" or "weeds") and amo (meaning "to cut", "to trim", or "to gather"). The meaning may have been "clearers of the thicket" or "herb gatherers", referring to clearing land for cultivation or collecting medicinal plants. The state has numerous place names of Native American origin. However, there are no correspondingly similar words in the Alabama language.
An 1842 article in the Jacksonville Republican proposed it meant "Here We Rest." This notion was popularized in the 1850s through the writings of Alexander Beaufort Meek. Experts in the Muskogean languages have not found any evidence to support such a translation.
Indigenous peoples of varying cultures lived in the area for thousands of years before the advent of European colonization. Trade with the northeastern tribes by the Ohio River began during the Burial Mound Period (1000 BC–AD 700) and continued until European contact.
The agrarian Mississippian culture covered most of the state from 1000 to 1600 AD, with one of its major centers built at what is now the Moundville Archaeological Site in Moundville, Alabama. This is the second-largest complex of the classic Middle Mississippian era, after Cahokia in present-day Illinois, which was the center of the culture. Analysis of artifacts from archaeological excavations at Moundville were the basis of scholars' formulating the characteristics of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC). Contrary to popular belief, the SECC appears to have no direct links to Mesoamerican culture, but developed independently. The Ceremonial Complex represents a major component of the religion of the Mississippian peoples; it is one of the primary means by which their religion is understood.
Among the historical tribes of Native American people living in present-day Alabama at the time of European contact were the Cherokee, an Iroquoian language people; and the Muskogean-speaking Alabama (Alibamu), Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Koasati. While part of the same large language family, the Muskogee tribes developed distinct cultures and languages.
With exploration in the 16th century, the Spanish were the first Europeans to reach Alabama. The expedition of Hernando de Soto passed through Mabila and other parts of the state in 1540. More than 160 years later, the French founded the region's first European settlement at Old Mobile in 1702. The city was moved to the current site of Mobile in 1711. This area was claimed by the French from 1702 to 1763 as part of La Louisiane.
After the French lost to the British in the Seven Years' War, it became part of British West Florida from 1763 to 1783. After the United States victory in the American Revolutionary War, the territory was divided between the United States and Spain. The latter retained control of this western territory from 1783 until the surrender of the Spanish garrison at Mobile to U.S. forces on April 13, 1813.
Thomas Bassett, a loyalist to the British monarchy during the Revolutionary era, was one of the earliest white settlers in the state outside Mobile. He settled in the Tombigbee District during the early 1770s. The district's boundaries were roughly limited to the area within a few miles of the Tombigbee River and included portions of what is today southern Clarke County, northernmost Mobile County, and most of Washington County.
What is now the counties of Baldwin and Mobile became part of Spanish West Florida in 1783, part of the independent Republic of West Florida in 1810, and was finally added to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Most of what is now the northern two-thirds of Alabama was known as the Yazoo lands beginning during the British colonial period. It was claimed by the Province of Georgia from 1767 onwards. Following the Revolutionary War, it remained a part of Georgia, although heavily disputed.
With the exception of the area around Mobile and the Yazoo lands, what is now the lower one-third Alabama was made part of the Mississippi Territory when it was organized in 1798. The Yazoo lands were added to the territory in 1804, following the Yazoo land scandal. Spain kept a claim on its former Spanish West Florida territory in what would become the coastal counties until the Adams–Onís Treaty officially ceded it to the United States in 1819.
Before Mississippi's admission to statehood on December 10, 1817, the more sparsely settled eastern half of the territory was separated and named the Alabama Territory. The United States Congress created the Alabama Territory on March 3, 1817. St. Stephens, now abandoned, served as the territorial capital from 1817 to 1819.
Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state on December 14, 1819, with Congress selecting Huntsville as the site for the first Constitutional Convention. From July 5 to August 2, 1819, delegates met to prepare the new state constitution. Huntsville served as temporary capital from 1819 to 1820, when the seat of government moved to Cahaba in Dallas County.
Cahaba, now a ghost town, was the first permanent state capital from 1820 to 1825. The Alabama Fever land rush was underway when the state was admitted to the Union, with settlers and land speculators pouring into the state to take advantage of fertile land suitable for cotton cultivation. Part of the frontier in the 1820s and 1830s, its constitution provided for universal suffrage for white men.
Southeastern planters and traders from the Upper South brought slaves with them as the cotton plantations in Alabama expanded. The economy of the central Black Belt (named for its dark, productive soil) was built around large cotton plantations whose owners' wealth grew mainly from slave labor. The area also drew many poor, disfranchised people who became subsistence farmers. Alabama had an estimated population of under 10,000 people in 1810, but it increased to more than 300,000 people by 1830. Most Native American tribes were completely removed from the state within a few years of the passage of the Indian Removal Act by Congress in 1830.
From 1826 to 1846, Tuscaloosa served as Alabama's capital. On January 30, 1846, the Alabama legislature announced it had voted to move the capital city from Tuscaloosa to Montgomery. The first legislative session in the new capital met in December 1847. A new capitol building was erected under the direction of Stephen Decatur Button of Philadelphia. The first structure burned down in 1849, but was rebuilt on the same site in 1851. This second capitol building in Montgomery remains to the present day. It was designed by Barachias Holt of Exeter, Maine.
By 1860, the population had increased to 964,201 people, of which nearly half, 435,080, were enslaved African Americans, and 2,690 were free people of color. On January 11, 1861, Alabama declared its secession from the Union. After remaining an independent republic for a few days, it joined the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy's capital was initially at Montgomery. Alabama was heavily involved in the American Civil War. Although comparatively few battles were fought in the state, Alabama contributed about 120,000 soldiers to the war effort.
A company of cavalry soldiers from Huntsville, Alabama, joined Nathan Bedford Forrest's battalion in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. The company wore new uniforms with yellow trim on the sleeves, collar and coat tails. This led to them being greeted with "Yellowhammer", and the name later was applied to all Alabama troops in the Confederate Army.
Alabama's slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment in 1865. Alabama was under military rule from the end of the war in May 1865 until its official restoration to the Union in 1868. From 1867 to 1874, with most white citizens barred temporarily from voting and freedmen enfranchised, many African Americans emerged as political leaders in the state. Alabama was represented in Congress during this period by three African-American congressmen: Jeremiah Haralson, Benjamin S. Turner, and James T. Rapier.
Following the war, the state remained chiefly agricultural, with an economy tied to cotton. During Reconstruction, state legislators ratified a new state constitution in 1868 that created the state's first public school system and expanded women's rights. Legislators funded numerous public road and railroad projects, although these were plagued with allegations of fraud and misappropriation. Organized insurgent, resistance groups tried to suppress the freedmen and Republicans. Besides the short-lived original Ku Klux Klan, these included the Pale Faces, Knights of the White Camellia, Red Shirts, and the White League.
Reconstruction in Alabama ended in 1874, when the Democrats regained control of the legislature and governor's office through an election dominated by fraud and violence. They wrote another constitution in 1875, and the legislature passed the Blaine Amendment, prohibiting public money from being used to finance religious-affiliated schools. The same year, legislation was approved that called for racially segregated schools. Railroad passenger cars were segregated in 1891. After disfranchising most African Americans and many poor whites in the 1901 constitution, the Alabama legislature passed more Jim Crow laws at the beginning of the 20th century to impose segregation in everyday life.
The new 1901 Constitution of Alabama included provisions for voter registration that effectively disenfranchised large portions of the population, including nearly all African Americans and Native Americans, and tens of thousands of poor whites, through making voter registration difficult, requiring a poll tax and literacy test. The 1901 constitution required racial segregation of public schools. By 1903, only 2,980 African Americans were registered in Alabama, although at least 74,000 were literate. This compared to more than 181,000 African Americans eligible to vote in 1900. The numbers dropped even more in later decades. The state legislature passed additional racial segregation laws related to public facilities into the 1950s: jails were segregated in 1911; hospitals in 1915; toilets, hotels, and restaurants in 1928; and bus stop waiting rooms in 1945.
While the planter class had persuaded poor whites to vote for this legislative effort to suppress black voting, the new restrictions resulted in their disenfranchisement as well, due mostly to the imposition of a cumulative poll tax. By 1941, whites constituted a slight majority of those disenfranchised by these laws: 600,000 whites vs. 520,000 African-Americans. Nearly all African Americans had lost the ability to vote. Despite numerous legal challenges that succeeded in overturning certain provisions, the state legislature would create new ones to maintain disenfranchisement. The exclusion of blacks from the political system persisted until after passage of federal civil rights legislation in 1965 to enforce their constitutional rights as citizens.
The rural-dominated Alabama legislature consistently underfunded schools and services for the disenfranchised African Americans, but it did not relieve them of paying taxes. Partially as a response to chronic underfunding of education for African Americans in the South, the Rosenwald Fund began funding the construction of what came to be known as Rosenwald Schools. In Alabama these schools were designed and the construction partially financed with Rosenwald funds, which paid one-third of the construction costs. The fund required the local community and state to raise matching funds to pay the rest. Black residents effectively taxed themselves twice, by raising additional monies to supply matching funds for such schools, which were built in many rural areas. They often donated land and labor as well.
Beginning in 1913, the first 80 Rosenwald Schools were built in Alabama for African-American children. A total of 387 schools, seven teachers' houses, and several vocational buildings were completed by 1937 in the state. Several of the surviving school buildings in the state are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Continued racial discrimination and lynchings, agricultural depression, and the failure of the cotton crops due to boll weevil infestation led tens of thousands of African Americans from rural Alabama and other states to seek opportunities in northern and midwestern cities during the early decades of the 20th century as part of the Great Migration out of the South. Reflecting this emigration, the population growth rate in Alabama (see "historical populations" table below) dropped by nearly half from 1910 to 1920.
At the same time, many rural people migrated to the city of Birmingham to work in new industrial jobs. Birmingham experienced such rapid growth that it was called the "Magic City". By 1920, Birmingham was the 36th-largest city in the United States. Heavy industry and mining were the basis of its economy. Its residents were under-represented for decades in the state legislature, which refused to redistrict after each decennial census according to population changes, as it was required by the state constitution. This did not change until the late 1960s following a lawsuit and court order.
Beginning in the 1940s, when the courts started taking the first steps to recognize the voting rights of black voters, the Alabama legislature took several counter-steps designed to disfranchise black voters. The legislature passed, and the voters ratified [as these were mostly white voters], a state constitutional amendment that gave local registrars greater latitude to disqualify voter registration applicants. Black citizens in Mobile successfully challenged this amendment as a violation of the Fifteenth Amendment. The legislature also changed the boundaries of Tuskegee to a 28-sided figure designed to fence out blacks from the city limits. The Supreme Court unanimously held that this racial "gerrymandering" violated the Constitution. In 1961, ... the Alabama legislature also intentionally diluted the effect of the black vote by instituting numbered place requirements for local elections.
Industrial development related to the demands of World War II brought a level of prosperity to the state not seen since before the civil war. Rural workers poured into the largest cities in the state for better jobs and a higher standard of living. One example of this massive influx of workers occurred in Mobile. Between 1940 and 1943, more than 89,000 people moved into the city to work for war-related industries. Cotton and other cash crops faded in importance as the state developed a manufacturing and service base.
Despite massive population changes in the state from 1901 to 1961, the rural-dominated legislature refused to reapportion House and Senate seats based on population, as required by the state constitution to follow the results of decennial censuses. They held on to old representation to maintain political and economic power in agricultural areas. One result was that Jefferson County, containing Birmingham's industrial and economic powerhouse, contributed more than one-third of all tax revenue to the state, but did not receive a proportional amount in services. Urban interests were consistently underrepresented in the legislature. A 1960 study noted that because of rural domination, "a minority of about 25 per cent of the total state population is in majority control of the Alabama legislature."
In the United States Supreme Court cases of Baker v. Carr (1962) and Reynolds v. Sims (1964), the court ruled ruled that the principle of "one man, one vote" needed to be the basis of both houses of state legislatures as well, and that their districts had to be based on population, rather than geographic counties, as Alabama had used for its senate.
In 1972, for the first time since 1901, the legislature completed the congressional redistricting based on the decennial census. This benefited the urban areas that had developed, as well as all in the population who had been underrepresented for more than 60 years. Other changes were made to implement representative state house and senate districts.
African Americans continued to press in the 1950s and 1960s to end disenfranchisement and segregation in the state through the civil rights movement, including legal challenges. In 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that public schools had to be desegregated, but Alabama was slow to comply. During the 1960s, under Governor George Wallace, Alabama resisted compliance with federal demands for desegregation. The civil rights movement had notable events in Alabama, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955–56), Freedom Rides in 1961, and 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. These contributed to Congressional passage and enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the U.S. Congress.
Legal segregation ended in the states in 1964, but Jim Crow customs often continued until specifically challenged in court. According to The New York Times, by 2017, many of Alabama's African-Americans were living in Alabama's cities such as Birmingham and Montgomery. Also, the Black Belt region across central Alabama "is home to largely poor counties that are predominantly African-American. These counties include Dallas, Lowndes, Marengo and Perry."
Alabama has made some changes since the late 20th century and has used new types of voting to increase representation. In the 1980s, an omnibus redistricting case, Dillard v. Crenshaw County, challenged the at-large voting for representative seats of 180 Alabama jurisdictions, including counties and school boards. At-large voting had diluted the votes of any minority in a county, as the majority tended to take all seats. Despite African Americans making up a significant minority in the state, they had been unable to elect any representatives in most of the at-large jurisdictions.
As part of settlement of this case, five Alabama cities and counties, including Chilton County, adopted a system of cumulative voting for election of representatives in multi-seat jurisdictions. This has resulted in more proportional representation for voters. In another form of proportional representation, 23 jurisdictions use limited voting, as in Conecuh County. In 1982, limited voting was first tested in Conecuh County. Together use of these systems has increased the number of African Americans and women being elected to local offices, resulting in governments that are more representative of their citizens.
Alabama is the thirtieth-largest state in the United States with 52,419 square miles (135,760 km2) of total area: 3.2% of the area is water, making Alabama 23rd in the amount of surface water, also giving it the second-largest inland waterway system in the United States. About three-fifths of the land area is a gentle plain with a general descent towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The North Alabama region is mostly mountainous, with the Tennessee River cutting a large valley and creating numerous creeks, streams, rivers, mountains, and lakes.
Alabama is bordered by the states of Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama has coastline at the Gulf of Mexico, in the extreme southern edge of the state. The state ranges in elevation from sea level at Mobile Bay to over 1,800 feet (550 m) in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast.
The highest point is Mount Cheaha, at a height of 2,413 ft (735 m). Alabama's land consists of 22 million acres (89,000 km2) of forest or 67% of total land area. Suburban Baldwin County, along the Gulf Coast, is the largest county in the state in both land area and water area.
Areas in Alabama administered by the National Park Service include Horseshoe Bend National Military Park near Alexander City; Little River Canyon National Preserve near Fort Payne; Russell Cave National Monument in Bridgeport; Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Tuskegee; and Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site near Tuskegee.
Additionally, Alabama has four National Forests: Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead. Alabama also contains the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail, and the Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail. A notable natural wonder in Alabama is "Natural Bridge" rock, the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies, located just south of Haleyville.
A 5-mile (8 km)-wide meteorite impact crater is located in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. This is the Wetumpka crater, the site of "Alabama's greatest natural disaster." A 1,000-foot (300 m)-wide meteorite hit the area about 80 million years ago. The hills just east of downtown Wetumpka showcase the eroded remains of the impact crater that was blasted into the bedrock, with the area labeled the Wetumpka crater or astrobleme ("star-wound") because of the concentric rings of fractures and zones of shattered rock that can be found beneath the surface. In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published evidence and established the site as the 157th recognized impact crater on Earth.
The state is classified as humid subtropical (Cfa) under the Koppen Climate Classification. The average annual temperature is 64 °F (18 °C). Temperatures tend to be warmer in the southern part of the state with its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, while the northern parts of the state, especially in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast, tend to be slightly cooler. Generally, Alabama has very hot summers and mild winters with copious precipitation throughout the year. Alabama receives an average of 56 inches (1,400 mm) of rainfall annually and enjoys a lengthy growing season of up to 300 days in the southern part of the state.
Summers in Alabama are among the hottest in the U.S., with high temperatures averaging over 90 °F (32 °C) throughout the summer in some parts of the state. Alabama is also prone to tropical storms and even hurricanes. Areas of the state far away from the Gulf are not immune to the effects of the storms, which often dump tremendous amounts of rain as they move inland and weaken.
South Alabama reports many thunderstorms. The Gulf Coast, around Mobile Bay, averages between 70 and 80 days per year with thunder reported. This activity decreases somewhat further north in the state, but even the far north of the state reports thunder on about 60 days per year. Occasionally, thunderstorms are severe with frequent lightning and large hail; the central and northern parts of the state are most vulnerable to this type of storm. Alabama ranks ninth in the number of deaths from lightning and tenth in the number of deaths from lightning strikes per capita.
Alabama, along with Oklahoma and Iowa, has the most confirmed F5 and EF5 tornadoes of any state, according to statistics from the National Climatic Data Center for the period January 1, 1950, to June 2013. Several long-tracked F5/EF5 tornadoes have contributed to Alabama reporting more tornado fatalities since 1950 than any other state. The state was affected by the 1974 Super Outbreak and was devastated tremendously by the 2011 Super Outbreak. The 2011 Super Outbreak produced a record amount of tornadoes in the state. The tally reached 62.
The peak season for tornadoes varies from the northern to southern parts of the state. Alabama is one of the few places in the world that has a secondary tornado season in November and December, along with the spring severe weather season. The northern part of the state—along the Tennessee Valley—is one of the areas in the U.S. most vulnerable to violent tornadoes. The area of Alabama and Mississippi most affected by tornadoes is sometimes referred to as Dixie Alley, as distinct from the Tornado Alley of the Southern Plains.
Winters are generally mild in Alabama, as they are throughout most of the Southeastern United States, with average January low temperatures around 40 °F (4 °C) in Mobile and around 32 °F (0 °C) in Birmingham. Although snow is a rare event in much of Alabama, areas of the state north of Montgomery may receive a dusting of snow a few times every winter, with an occasional moderately heavy snowfall every few years. Historic snowfall events include New Year's Eve 1963 snowstorm and the 1993 Storm of the Century. The annual average snowfall for the Birmingham area is 2 inches (51 mm) per year. In the southern Gulf coast, snowfall is less frequent, sometimes going several years without any snowfall.
Alabama's highest temperature of 112 °F (44 °C) was recorded on September 5, 1925, in the unincorporated community of Centerville. The record low of −27 °F (−33 °C) occurred on January 30, 1966, in New Market.
Alabama is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, due largely to a variety of habitats that range from the Tennessee Valley, Appalachian Plateau, and Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians of the north to the Piedmont, Canebrake, and Black Belt of the central region to the Gulf Coastal Plain and beaches along the Gulf of Mexico in the south. The state is usually ranked among the top in nation for its range of overall biodiversity.
Alabama is in the subtropical coniferous forest biome and once boasted huge expanses of pine forest, which still form the largest proportion of forests in the state. It currently ranks fifth in the nation for the diversity of its flora. It is home to nearly 4,000 pteridophyte and spermatophyte plant species.
Indigenous animal species in the state include 62 mammal species, 93 reptile species, 73 amphibian species, roughly 307 native freshwater fish species, and 420 bird species that spend at least part of their year within the state. Invertebrates include 97 crayfish species and 383 mollusk species. 113 of these mollusk species have never been collected outside the state.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Alabama was 4,887,871 on July 1, 2018, which represents an increase of 108,135 or 2.26%, since the 2010 Census. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 121,054 people (that is 502,457 births minus 381,403 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 104,991 people into the state.
Immigration from outside the U.S. resulted in a net increase of 31,180 people, and migration within the country produced a net gain of 73,811 people. The state had 108,000 foreign-born (2.4% of the state population), of which an estimated 22.2% were undocumented (24,000).
According to the 2010 Census, Alabama had a population of 4,779,736. The racial composition of the state was 68.5% White (67.0% Non-Hispanic White and 1.5% Hispanic White), 26.2% Black or African American, 3.9% Hispanic or Latino of any race, 1.1% Asian, 0.6% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 2.0% from Some Other Race, and 1.5% from Two or More Races. In 2011, 46.6% of Alabama's population younger than age 1 were minorities.
The largest reported ancestry groups in Alabama are: African (26.2%), English (23.6%), Irish (7.7%), German (5.7%), and Scots-Irish (2.0%). Those citing "American" ancestry in Alabama are generally of English or British ancestry; many Anglo-Americans identify as having American ancestry because their roots have been in North America for so long, in some cases since the 1600s. Demographers estimate that a minimum of 20–23% of people in Alabama are of predominantly English ancestry and that the figure is likely higher. In the 1980 census, 41% of the people in Alabama identified as being of English ancestry, making them the largest ethnic group at the time.
Based on historic migration and settlement patterns in the southern colonies and states, demographers estimated there are more people in Alabama of Scots-Irish origins than self-reported. Many people in Alabama claim Irish ancestry because of the term Scots-Irish but, based on historic immigration and settlement, their ancestors were more likely Protestant Scots-Irish coming from northern Ireland, where they had been for a few generations as part of the English colonization. The Scots-Irish were the largest non-English immigrant group from the British Isles before the American Revolution, and many settled in the South, later moving into the Deep South as it was developed.
In 1984, under the Davis–Strong Act, the state legislature established the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission. Native American groups within the state had increasingly been demanding recognition as ethnic groups and seeking an end to discrimination. Given the long history of slavery and associated racial segregation, the Native American peoples, who have sometimes been of mixed race, have insisted on having their cultural identification respected. In the past, their self-identification was often overlooked as the state tried to impose a binary breakdown of society into white and black.
The state government has promoted recognition of Native American contributions to the state, including the designation in 2000 for Columbus Day to be jointly celebrated as American Indian Heritage Day.
|Rank||Combined statistical area||Population (2017 estimate)||Population (2010 Census)|
|Rank||Metropolitan area||Population (2017 estimate)||Population (2010 Census)|
|Rank||City||Population (2017 census estimates)||County|
95.1% of all Alabama residents five years old or older spoke only English at home in 2010, a minor decrease from 96.1% in 2000. Alabama English is predominantly Southern, and is related to South Midland speech which was taken across the border from Tennessee. In the major Southern speech region, there is the decreasing loss of the final /r/, for example the /boyd/ pronunciation of 'bird'. In the northern third of the state, there is a South Midland 'arm' and 'barb' rhyming with 'form' and 'orb'. Unique words in Alabama English include: redworm (earthworm), peckerwood (woodpecker), snake doctor and snake feeder (dragonfly), tow sack (burlap bag), plum peach (clingstone), French harp (harmonica), and dog irons (andirons).
|Language||Percentage of population|
(as of 2010)
|French (incl. Patois, Cajun)||0.3%|
|Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, African languages, Japanese, and Italian (tied)||0.1%|
In the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 86% of Alabama respondents reported their religion as Christian, including 6% Catholic, with 11% as having no religion. The composition of other traditions is 0.5% Mormon, 0.5% Jewish, 0.5% Muslim, 0.5% Buddhist, and 0.5% Hindu.
|Affiliation||% of population|
|Nothing in particular||9|
|Other Non-Christian faiths||0.2|
|Don't know/refused answer||1|
Alabama is located in the middle of the Bible Belt, a region of numerous Protestant Christians. Alabama has been identified as one of the most religious states in the United States, with about 58% of the population attending church regularly. A majority of people in the state identify as Evangelical Protestant. As of 2010, the three largest denominational groups in Alabama are the Southern Baptist Convention, The United Methodist Church, and non-denominational Evangelical Protestant.
In Alabama, the Southern Baptist Convention has the highest number of adherents with 1,380,121; this is followed by the United Methodist Church with 327,734 adherents, non-denominational Evangelical Protestant with 220,938 adherents, and the Catholic Church with 150,647 adherents. Many Baptist and Methodist congregations became established in the Great Awakening of the early 19th century, when preachers proselytized across the South. The Assemblies of God had almost 60,000 members, the Churches of Christ had nearly 120,000 members. The Presbyterian churches, strongly associated with Scots-Irish immigrants of the 18th century and their descendants, had a combined membership around 75,000 (PCA – 28,009 members in 108 congregations, PC(USA) – 26,247 members in 147 congregations, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church – 6,000 members in 59 congregations, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America – 5,000 members and 50 congregations plus the EPC and Associate Reformed Presbyterians with 230 members and 9 congregations).
In a 2007 survey, nearly 70% of respondents could name all four of the Christian Gospels. Of those who indicated a religious preference, 59% said they possessed a "full understanding" of their faith and needed no further learning. In a 2007 poll, 92% of Alabamians reported having at least some confidence in churches in the state.
Although in much smaller numbers, many other religious faiths are represented in the state as well, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, the Bahá'í Faith, and Unitarian Universalism.
Jews have been present in what is now Alabama since 1763, during the colonial era of Mobile, when Sephardic Jews immigrated from London. The oldest Jewish congregation in the state is Congregation Sha'arai Shomayim in Mobile. It was formally recognized by the state legislature on January 25, 1844. Later immigrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries tended to be Ashkenazi Jews from eastern Europe. Jewish denominations in the state include two Orthodox, four Conservative, ten Reform, and one Humanistic synagogue.
Muslims have been increasing in Alabama, with 31 mosques built by 2011, many by African-American converts.
Several Hindu temples and cultural centers in the state have been founded by Indian immigrants and their descendants, the best-known being the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Birmingham, the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Birmingham in Pelham, the Hindu Cultural Center of North Alabama in Capshaw, and the Hindu Mandir and Cultural Center in Tuscaloosa.
There are six Dharma centers and organizations for Theravada Buddhists. Most monastic Buddhist temples are concentrated in southern Mobile County, near Bayou La Batre. This area has attracted an influx of refugees from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam during the 1970s and thereafter. The four temples within a ten-mile radius of Bayou La Batre, include Chua Chanh Giac, Wat Buddharaksa, and Wat Lao Phoutthavihan.
The first community of adherents of the Bahá'í Faith in Alabama was founded in 1896 by Paul K. Dealy, who moved from Chicago to Fairhope. Bahá'í centers in Alabama exist in Birmingham, Huntsville, and Florence.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study in 2008 showed that obesity in Alabama was a problem, with most counties having over 29% of adults obese, except for ten which had a rate between 26% and 29%. Residents of the state, along with those in five other states, were least likely in the nation to be physically active during leisure time. Alabama, and the southeastern U.S. in general, has one of the highest incidences of adult onset diabetes in the country, exceeding 10% of adults.
The state has invested in aerospace, education, health care, banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. By 2006, crop and animal production in Alabama was valued at $1.5 billion. In contrast to the primarily agricultural economy of the previous century, this was only about 1% of the state's gross domestic product. The number of private farms has declined at a steady rate since the 1960s, as land has been sold to developers, timber companies, and large farming conglomerates.
Non-agricultural employment in 2008 was 121,800 in management occupations; 71,750 in business and financial operations; 36,790 in computer-related and mathematical occupation; 44,200 in architecture and engineering; 12,410 in life, physical, and social sciences; 32,260 in community and social services; 12,770 in legal occupations; 116,250 in education, training, and library services; 27,840 in art, design and media occupations; 121,110 in healthcare; 44,750 in fire fighting, law enforcement, and security; 154,040 in food preparation and serving; 76,650 in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance; 53,230 in personal care and services; 244,510 in sales; 338,760 in office and administration support; 20,510 in farming, fishing, and forestry; 120,155 in construction and mining, gas, and oil extraction; 106,280 in installation, maintenance, and repair; 224,110 in production; and 167,160 in transportation and material moving.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the 2008 total gross state product was $170 billion, or $29,411 per capita. Alabama's 2012 GDP increased 1.2% from the previous year. The single largest increase came in the area of information. In 2010, per capita income for the state was $22,984.
Alabama has no state minimum wage and uses the federal minimum wage of $7.25. In February 2016, the state passed legislation that prevents Alabama municipalities from raising the minimum wage in their locality. The legislation voids a Birmingham city ordinance that was to raise the city's minimum wage to $10.10.
As of 2018, Alabama has the sixth highest poverty rate among states in the U.S. In 2017, United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston toured parts of rural Alabama and observed environmental conditions that he said were poorer than anywhere he had seen in the developed world.
The five employers that employed the most employees in Alabama in April 2011 were:
|University of Alabama at Birmingham (includes UAB Hospital)||18,750|
|Maxwell Air Force Base||12,280|
|State of Alabama||9,500|
|Mobile County Public School System||8,100|
The next twenty largest employers, as of 2011, included:
|Anniston Army Depot||Anniston|
|Baptist Medical Center South||Montgomery|
|Birmingham City Schools||Birmingham|
|City of Birmingham||Birmingham|
|DCH Health System||Tuscaloosa|
|Huntsville City Schools||Huntsville|
|Huntsville Hospital System||Huntsville|
|Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama||Montgomery|
|Infirmary Health System||Mobile|
|Jefferson County Board of Education||Birmingham|
|Marshall Space Flight Center||Huntsville|
|Mercedes-Benz U.S. International||Vance|
|Montgomery Public Schools||Montgomery|
|Regions Financial Corporation||Multiple|
|University of Alabama||Tuscaloosa|
|University of South Alabama||Mobile|
Alabama's agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs, cattle, fish, plant nursery items, peanuts, cotton, grains such as corn and sorghum, vegetables, milk, soybeans, and peaches. Although known as "The Cotton State", Alabama ranks between eighth and tenth in national cotton production, according to various reports, with Texas, Georgia and Mississippi comprising the top three.
Alabama's industrial outputs include iron and steel products (including cast-iron and steel pipe); paper, lumber, and wood products; mining (mostly coal); plastic products; cars and trucks; and apparel. In addition, Alabama produces aerospace and electronic products, mostly in the Huntsville area, the location of NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Army Materiel Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal.
A great deal of Alabama's economic growth since the 1990s has been due to the state's expanding automotive manufacturing industry. Located in the state are Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama, as well as their various suppliers. Since 1993, the automobile industry has generated more than 67,800 new jobs in the state. Alabama currently ranks 4th in the nation for vehicle exports.
Automakers accounted for approximately a third of the industrial expansion in the state in 2012. The eight models produced at the state's auto factories totaled combined sales of 74,335 vehicles for 2012. The strongest model sales during this period were the Hyundai Elantra compact car, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class sport utility vehicle and the Honda Ridgeline sport utility truck.
Steel producers Outokumpu, Nucor, SSAB, ThyssenKrupp, and U.S. Steel have facilities in Alabama and employ over 10,000 people. In May 2007, German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp selected Calvert in Mobile County for a 4.65 billion combined stainless and carbon steel processing facility. ThyssenKrupp's stainless steel division, Inoxum, including the stainless portion of the Calvert plant, was sold to Finnish stainless steel company Outokumpu in 2012. The remaining portion of the ThyssenKrupp plant had final bids submitted by ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel for $1.6 billion in March 2013. Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional submitted a combined bid for the mill at Calvert, plus a majority stake in the ThyssenKrupp mill in Brazil, for $3.8 billion. In July 2013, the plant was sold to ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel.
The Hunt Refining Company, a subsidiary of Hunt Consolidated, Inc., is based in Tuscaloosa and operates a refinery there. The company also operates terminals in Mobile, Melvin, and Moundville. JVC America, Inc. operates an optical disc replication and packaging plant in Tuscaloosa.
Construction of an Airbus A320 family aircraft assembly plant in Mobile was formally announced by Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier from the Mobile Convention Center on July 2, 2012. The plans include a $600 million factory at the Brookley Aeroplex for the assembly of the A319, A320 and A321 aircraft. Construction began in 2013, with plans for it to become operable by 2015 and produce up to 50 aircraft per year by 2017. The assembly plant is the company's first factory to be built within the United States. It was announced on February 1, 2013, that Airbus had hired Alabama-based Hoar Construction to oversee construction of the facility.
An estimated 20 million tourists visit the state each year. Over 100,000 of these are from other countries, including from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. In 2006, 22.3 million travellers spent $8.3 billion providing an estimated 162,000 jobs in the state. Some of the most popular areas include the Rocket City of Huntsville, the beaches along the Gulf, and the state's capitol in Montgomery.
Alabama has the headquarters of Regions Financial Corporation, BBVA Compass, Superior Bancorp, and the former Colonial Bancgroup. Birmingham-based Compass Banchshares was acquired by Spanish-based BBVA in September 2007, although the headquarters of BBVA Compass remains in Birmingham. In November 2006, Regions Financial completed its merger with AmSouth Bancorporation, which was also headquartered in Birmingham. SouthTrust Corporation, another large bank headquartered in Birmingham, was acquired by Wachovia in 2004 for $14.3 billion.
The city still has major operations for Wachovia and its now post-operating bank Wells Fargo, which includes a regional headquarters, an operations center campus and a $400 million data center. Nearly a dozen smaller banks are also headquartered in the Birmingham, such as Superior Bancorp, ServisFirst, and New South Federal Savings Bank. Birmingham also serves as the headquarters for several large investment management companies, including Harbert Management Corporation.
Many commercial technology companies are headquartered in Huntsville, such as network access company ADTRAN, computer graphics company Intergraph, and IT infrastructure company Avocent. Cinram manufactures and distributes 20th Century Fox DVDs and Blu-ray Discs out of its Huntsville plant.
Rust International has grown to include Brasfield & Gorrie, BE&K, Hoar Construction, and B.L. Harbert International, which all routinely are included in the Engineering News-Record lists of top design, international construction, and engineering firms. (Rust International was acquired in 2000 by Washington Group International, which was in turn acquired by San-Francisco based URS Corporation in 2007.)
The foundational document for Alabama's government is the Alabama Constitution, which was ratified in 1901. At almost 800 amendments and 310,000 words, it is by some accounts the world's longest constitution and is roughly forty times the length of the United States Constitution.
There has been a significant movement to rewrite and modernize Alabama's constitution. Critics argue that Alabama's constitution maintains highly centralized power with the state legislature, leaving practically no power in local hands. Most counties do not have home rule. Any policy changes proposed in different areas of the state must be approved by the entire Alabama legislature and, frequently, by state referendum. One criticism of the current constitution claims that its complexity and length intentionally codify segregation and racism.
Alabama's government is divided into three coequal branches. The legislative branch is the Alabama Legislature, a bicameral assembly composed of the Alabama House of Representatives, with 105 members, and the Alabama Senate, with 35 members. The Legislature is responsible for writing, debating, passing, or defeating state legislation. The Republican Party currently holds a majority in both houses of the Legislature. The Legislature has the power to override a gubernatorial veto by a simple majority (most state Legislatures require a two-thirds majority to override a veto).
Until 1964, the state elected state senators on a geographic basis by county, with one per county. It had not redistricted congressional districts since passage of its constitution in 1901; as a result, urbanized areas were grossly underrepresented. It had not changed legislative districts to reflect the decennial censuses, either. In Reynolds v. Sims (1964), the US Supreme Court implemented the principle of "one man, one vote", ruling that congressional districts had to be reapportioned based on censuses (as the state already included in its constitution but had not implemented.) Further, the court ruled that both houses of bicameral state legislatures had to be apportioned by population, as there was no constitutional basis for states to have geographically based systems.
At that time, Alabama and many other states had to change their legislative districting, as many across the country had systems that underrepresented urban areas and districts. This had caused decades of underinvestment in such areas. For instance, Birmingham and Jefferson County taxes had supplied one-third of the state budget, but Jefferson County received only 1/67th of state services in funding. Through the legislative delegations, the Alabama legislature kept control of county governments.
The executive branch is responsible for the execution and oversight of laws. It is headed by the Governor of Alabama. Other members of executive branch include the cabinet, the Lieutenant Governor of Alabama the Attorney General of Alabama, the Alabama Secretary of State, the Alabama State Treasurer, and the State Auditor of Alabama. The current governor of the state is Republican Kay Ivey.
The members of the Legislature take office immediately after the November elections. Statewide officials, such as the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and other constitutional officers, take office the following January.
The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the state's Constitution and applying the law in state criminal and civil cases. The state's highest court is the Supreme Court of Alabama. Alabama uses partisan elections to select judges. Since the 1980s judicial campaigns have become increasingly politicized. The current chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is Republican Tom Parker. All sitting justices on the Alabama Supreme Court are members of the Republican Party. There are two intermediate appellate courts, the Court of Civil Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals, and four trial courts: the circuit court (trial court of general jurisdiction), and the district, probate, and municipal courts.
Some critics believe that the election of judges has contributed to an exceedingly high rate of executions. Alabama has the highest per capita death penalty rate in the country. In some years, it imposes more death sentences than does Texas, a state which has a population five times larger. Some of its cases have been highly controversial; the Supreme Court has overturned 24 convictions in death penalty cases. It was the only state to allow judges to override jury decisions in whether or not to use a death sentence; in 10 cases judges overturned sentences of life imprisonment without parole (LWOP) that were voted unanimously by juries. This judicial authority was removed in April 2017.
Alabama levies a 2, 4, or 5 percent personal income tax, depending upon the amount earned and filing status. Taxpayers are allowed to deduct their federal income tax from their Alabama state tax, and can do so even if taking the standard deduction. Taxpayers who file itemized deductions are also allowed to deduct the Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (Social Security and Medicare tax).
The state's general sales tax rate is 4%. Sales tax rates for cities and counties are also added to purchases. For example, the total sales tax rate in Mobile is 10% and there is an additional restaurant tax of 1%, which means that a diner in Mobile would pay an 11% tax on a meal. As of 1999, sales and excise taxes in Alabama account for 51% of all state and local revenue, compared with an average of about 36% nationwide. Alabama is one of seven states that levy a tax on food at the same rate as other goods, and one of two states (the other being neighboring Mississippi) which fully taxes groceries without any offsetting relief for low-income families. (Most states exempt groceries from sales tax or apply a lower tax rate.)
Alabama's income tax on poor working families is among the highest in the United States. Alabama is the only state that levies income tax on a family of four with income as low as $4,600, which is barely one-quarter of the federal poverty line. Alabama's threshold is the lowest among the 41 states and the District of Columbia with income taxes.
The corporate income tax rate is currently 6.5%. The overall federal, state, and local tax burden in Alabama ranks the state as the second least tax-burdened state in the country. Property taxes are the lowest in the U.S. The current state constitution requires a voter referendum to raise property taxes.
Since Alabama's tax structure largely depends on consumer spending, it is subject to high variable budget structure. For example, in 2003, Alabama had an annual budget deficit as high as $670 million.
Alabama has 67 counties. Each county has its own elected legislative branch, usually called the county commission. It also has limited executive authority in the county. Because of the constraints of the Alabama Constitution, which centralizes power in the state legislature, only seven counties (Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa) in the state have limited home rule. Instead, most counties in the state must lobby the Local Legislation Committee of the state legislature to get simple local policies approved, ranging from waste disposal to land use zoning.
The state legislature has retained power over local governments by refusing to pass a constitutional amendment establishing home rule for counties, as recommended by the 1973 Alabama Constitutional Commission. Legislative delegations retain certain powers over each county. United States Supreme Court decisions in Baker v. Carr (1964) required that both houses have districts established on the basis of population, and redistricted after each census, in order to implement the principle of "one man, one vote". Before that, each county was represented by one state senator, leading to under-representation in the state senate for more urbanized, populous counties. The rural bias of the state legislature, which had also failed to redistrict seats in the state house, affected politics well into the 20th century, failing to recognize the rise of industrial cities and urbanized areas.
"The lack of home rule for counties in Alabama has resulted in the proliferation of local legislation permitting counties to do things not authorized by the state constitution. Alabama's constitution has been amended more than 700 times, and almost one-third of the amendments are local in nature, applying to only one county or city. A significant part of each legislative session is spent on local legislation, taking away time and attention of legislators from issues of statewide importance."
Alabama is an alcoholic beverage control state, meaning that the state government holds a monopoly on the sale of alcohol. The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board controls the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages in the state. Twenty-five of the 67 counties are "dry counties" which ban the sale of alcohol, and there are many dry municipalities even in counties which permit alcohol sales.
During Reconstruction following the American Civil War, Alabama was occupied by federal troops of the Third Military District under General John Pope. In 1874, the political coalition of white Democrats known as the Redeemers took control of the state government from the Republicans, in part by suppressing the black vote through violence, fraud and intimidation.
After 1890, a coalition of White Democratic politicians passed laws to segregate and disenfranchise African American residents, a process completed in provisions of the 1901 constitution. Provisions which disenfranchised blacks resulted in excluding many poor Whites. By 1941 more Whites than Blacks had been disenfranchised: 600,000 to 520,000. The total effects were greater on the black community, as almost all of its citizens were disfranchised and relegated to separate and unequal treatment under the law.
From 1901 through the 1960s, the state did not redraw election districts as population grew and shifted within the state during urbanization and industrialization of certain areas. As counties were the basis of election districts, the result was a rural minority that dominated state politics through nearly three-quarters of the century, until a series of federal court cases required redistricting in 1972 to meet equal representation.
Alabama state politics gained nationwide and international attention in the 1950s and 1960s during the civil rights movement, when whites bureaucratically, and at times violently, resisted protests for electoral and social reform. Governor George Wallace, the state's only four-term governor, was a controversial figure who vowed to maintain segregation. Only after passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 did African Americans regain the ability to exercise suffrage, among other civil rights. In many jurisdictions, they continued to be excluded from representation by at-large electoral systems, which allowed the majority of the population to dominate elections. Some changes at the county level have occurred following court challenges to establish single-member districts that enable a more diverse representation among county boards.
In 2007, the Alabama Legislature passed, and Republican Governor Bob Riley signed a resolution expressing "profound regret" over slavery and its lingering impact. In a symbolic ceremony, the bill was signed in the Alabama State Capitol, which housed Congress of the Confederate States of America.
In 2010, Republicans won control of both houses of the legislature for the first time in 136 years.
As of December 2017, there are a total of 3,326,812 registered voters, with 2,979,576 active, and the others inactive in the state.
With the disfranchisement of Blacks in 1901, the state became part of the "Solid South", a system in which the Democratic Party operated as effectively the only viable political party in every Southern state. For nearly 100 years, local and state elections in Alabama were decided in the Democratic Party primary, with generally only token Republican challengers running in the General Election. Since the mid to late 20th century, however, there has been a realignment among the two major political parties, and white conservatives started shifting to the Republican Party. In Alabama, majority-white districts are now expected to regularly elect Republican candidates to federal, state and local office.
Members of the nine seats on the Supreme Court of Alabama and all ten seats on the state appellate courts are elected to office. Until 1994, no Republicans held any of the court seats. In that general election, the then-incumbent Chief Justice, Ernest C. Hornsby, refused to leave office after losing the election by approximately 3,000 votes to Republican Perry O. Hooper, Sr.. Hornsby sued Alabama and defiantly remained in office for nearly a year before finally giving up the seat after losing in court. This ultimately led to a collapse of support for Democrats at the ballot box in the next three or four election cycles. The Democrats lost the last of the nineteen court seats in August 2011 with the resignation of the last Democrat on the bench.
In the early 21st century, Republicans hold all seven of the statewide elected executive branch offices. Republicans hold six of the eight elected seats on the Alabama State Board of Education. In 2010, Republicans took large majorities of both chambers of the state legislature, giving them control of that body for the first time in 136 years. The last remaining statewide Democrat, who served on the Alabama Public Service Commission was defeated in 2012.
Only three Republican Lieutenant Governors have been elected since the end of Reconstruction, when Republicans generally represented Reconstruction government, including the newly emancipated freedmen who had gained the franchise. The three GOP Lt. Governors are Steve Windom (1999–2003), Kay Ivey (2011–2017), and Will Ainsworth (2019-present).
Many local offices (County Commissioners, Boards of Education, Tax Assessors, Tax Collectors, etc.) in the state are still held by Democrats. Many rural counties have voters who are majority Democrats, resulting in local elections being decided in the Democratic primary. Similarly many metropolitan and suburban counties are majority-Republican and elections are effectively decided in the Republican Primary, although there are exceptions.
Alabama's 67 County Sheriffs are elected in partisan, at-large races, and Democrats still retain the narrow majority of those posts. The current split is 35 Democrats, 31 Republicans, and one Independent Fayette. However, most of the Democratic sheriffs preside over rural and less populated counties. The majority of Republican sheriffs have been elected in the more urban/suburban and heavily populated counties. As of 2015, the state of Alabama has one female sheriff, in Morgan County, Alabama, and ten African-American sheriffs.
The state's two U.S. senators are Republican Richard C. Shelby and Democrat Doug Jones. Shelby was originally elected to the Senate as a Democrat in 1986 and re-elected in 1992, but switched parties immediately following the November 1994 general election.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the state is represented by seven members, six of whom are Republicans: (Bradley Byrne, Mike D. Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Morris J. Brooks, Martha Roby, and Gary Palmer) and one Democrat: Terri Sewell who represents the Black Belt as well as most of the predominantly black portions of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery.
Public primary and secondary education in Alabama is under the purview of the Alabama State Board of Education as well as local oversight by 67 county school boards and 60 city boards of education. Together, 1,496 individual schools provide education for 744,637 elementary and secondary students.
Public school funding is appropriated through the Alabama Legislature through the Education Trust Fund. In FY 2006–2007, Alabama appropriated $3,775,163,578 for primary and secondary education. That represented an increase of $444,736,387 over the previous fiscal year. In 2007, over 82 percent of schools made adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward student proficiency under the National No Child Left Behind law, using measures determined by the state of Alabama.
While Alabama's public education system has improved in recent decades, it lags behind in achievement compared to other states. According to U.S. Census data (2000), Alabama's high school graduation rate—75%—is the fourth lowest in the U.S. (after Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi). The largest educational gains were among people with some college education but without degrees.
Although unusual in the West, school corporal punishment is not uncommon in Alabama, with 27,260 public school students paddled at least one time, according to government data for the 2011–2012 school year. The rate of school corporal punishment in Alabama is surpassed only by Mississippi and Arkansas.
Alabama's programs of higher education include 14 four-year public universities, two-year community colleges, and 17 private, undergraduate and graduate universities. In the state are four medical schools (as of fall 2015) (University of Alabama School of Medicine, University of South Alabama and Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine and The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Auburn Campus), two veterinary colleges (Auburn University and Tuskegee University), a dental school (University of Alabama School of Dentistry), an optometry college (University of Alabama at Birmingham), two pharmacy schools (Auburn University and Samford University), and five law schools (University of Alabama School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, Cumberland School of Law, Miles Law School, and the Thomas Goode Jones School of Law). Public, post-secondary education in Alabama is overseen by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education. Colleges and universities in Alabama offer degree programs from two-year associate degrees to a multitude of doctoral level programs.
The largest single campus is the University of Alabama, located in Tuscaloosa, with 37,665 enrolled for fall 2016. Troy University was the largest institution in the state in 2010, with an enrollment of 29,689 students across four Alabama campuses (Troy, Dothan, Montgomery, and Phenix City), as well as sixty learning sites in seventeen other states and eleven other countries. The oldest institutions are the public University of North Alabama in Florence and the Catholic Church-affiliated Spring Hill College in Mobile, both founded in 1830.
Accreditation of academic programs is through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as well as other subject-focused national and international accreditation agencies such as the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), the Council on Occupational Education (COE), and the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
According to the 2011 U.S. News & World Report, Alabama had three universities ranked in the top 100 Public Schools in America (University of Alabama at 31, Auburn University at 36, and University of Alabama at Birmingham at 73).
According to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report, Alabama had four tier 1 universities (University of Alabama, Auburn University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Alabama in Huntsville).
Major television network affiliates in Alabama include:
College football is extremely popular in Alabama, particularly the University of Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn University Tigers, rivals in the Southeastern Conference. In the 2013 season, Alabama averaged over 100,000 fans per game and Auburn averaged over 80,000 fans, both numbers among the top 20 in the nation in average attendance. Bryant–Denny Stadium is the home of the Alabama football team, and has a seating capacity of 101,821, and is the fifth largest stadium in America. Jordan-Hare Stadium is the home field of the Auburn football team and seats up to 87,451.
Legion Field is home for the UAB Blazers football program and the Birmingham Bowl. It seats 71,594. Ladd–Peebles Stadium in Mobile is the home of the University of South Alabama football team, and serves as the home of the NCAA Senior Bowl, Dollar General Bowl (formerly GoDaddy.com Bowl), and Alabama-Mississippi All Star Classic; the stadium seats 40,646. In 2009, Bryant–Denny Stadium and Jordan-Hare Stadium became the homes of the Alabama High School Athletic Association state football championship games, after previously being held at Legion Field in Birmingham.
Alabama has several professional and semi-professional sports teams, including three minor league baseball teams.
|Birmingham Barons||Birmingham||Baseball||Southern League (AA)||Regions Field|
|Huntsville Havoc||Huntsville||Ice hockey||Southern Professional Hockey League||Von Braun Center|
|Mobile BayBears||Mobile||Baseball||Southern League (AA)||Hank Aaron Stadium|
|Montgomery Biscuits||Montgomery||Baseball||Southern League (AA)||Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium|
|Birmingham Hammers||Birmingham||Soccer||National Premier Soccer League||Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex|
|Tennessee Valley Tigers||Huntsville||Football||Independent Women's Football League||Milton Frank Stadium|
The Talladega Superspeedway motorsports complex hosts a series of NASCAR events. It has a seating capacity of 143,000 and is the thirteenth largest stadium in the world and sixth largest stadium in America. Also, the Barber Motorsports Park has hosted IndyCar Series and Rolex Sports Car Series races.
Alabama has hosted several professional golf tournaments, such as the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championship at Shoal Creek, the Barbasol Championship (PGA Tour), the Mobile LPGA Tournament of Champions, Airbus LPGA Classic, and Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic (LPGA Tour), and The Tradition (Champions Tour).
Major airports with sustained commercial operations in Alabama include Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), Huntsville International Airport (HSV), Dothan Regional Airport (DHN), Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM), and Muscle Shoals – Northwest Alabama Regional Airport (MSL).
Alabama has six major interstate roads that cross the state: Interstate 65 (I-65) travels north–south roughly through the middle of the state; I-20/I-59 travel from the central west Mississippi state line to Birmingham, where I-59 continues to the north-east corner of the state and I-20 continues east towards Atlanta; I-85 originates in Montgomery and travels east-northeast to the Georgia state line, providing a main thoroughfare to Atlanta; and I-10 traverses the southernmost portion of the state, traveling from west to east through Mobile. I-22 enters the state from Mississippi and connects Birmingham with Memphis, Tennessee. In addition, there are currently five auxiliary interstate routes in the state: I-165 in Mobile, I-359 in Tuscaloosa, I-459 around Birmingham, I-565 in Decatur and Huntsville, and I-759 in Gadsden. A sixth route, I-685, will be formed when I-85 is rerouted along a new southern bypass of Montgomery. A proposed northern bypass of Birmingham will be designated as I-422. Since a direct connection from I-22 to I-422 will not be possible, I-222 has been proposed, as well.
Several U.S. Highways also pass through the state, such as U.S. Route 11 (US-11), US-29, US-31, US-43, US-45, US-72, US-78, US-80, US-82, US-84, US-90, US-98, US-231, US-278, US-280, US-331, US-411, and US-431.
The Port of Mobile, Alabama's only saltwater port, is a large seaport on the Gulf of Mexico with inland waterway access to the Midwest by way of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Port of Mobile was ranked 12th by tons of traffic in the United States during 2009. The newly expanded container terminal at the Port of Mobile was ranked as the 25th busiest for container traffic in the nation during 2011. The state's other ports are on rivers with access to the Gulf of Mexico.
Water ports of Alabama, listed from north to south:
|Port name||Location||Connected to|
|Port of Florence||Florence/Muscle Shoals, on Pickwick Lake||Tennessee River|
|Port of Decatur||Decatur, on Wheeler Lake||Tennessee River|
|Port of Guntersville||Guntersville, on Lake Guntersville||Tennessee River|
|Port of Birmingham||Birmingham, on Black Warrior River||Tenn-Tom Waterway|
|Port of Tuscaloosa||Tuscaloosa, on Black Warrior River||Tenn-Tom Waterway|
|Port of Montgomery||Montgomery, on Woodruff Lake||Alabama River|
|Port of Mobile||Mobile, on Mobile Bay||Gulf of Mexico|
| List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
Admitted on December 14, 1819 (22nd)
The Alabama Crimson Tide football program represents the University of Alabama (variously Alabama, UA, or Bama) in the sport of American football. The team competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Western Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The team is currently coached by Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide is among the most storied and decorated football programs in NCAA history. Since beginning play in 1892, the program claims 17 national championships, including 12 wire-service (AP or Coaches) national titles in the poll-era, and five other titles before the poll-era. From 1958 to 1982, the team was led by Hall of Fame coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who won six national championships with the program. Despite numerous national and conference championships, it was not until 2009 that an Alabama player received a Heisman Trophy, when running back Mark Ingram became the university's first winner. In 2015, Derrick Henry became the university's second Heisman winner.Alabama has 905 official victories in NCAA Division I (an additional 21 victories were vacated and 8 victories and 1 tie were forfeited), has won 31 conference championships (4 Southern Conference and 27 SEC championships) and has made an NCAA-record 69 postseason bowl appearances. Other NCAA records include 23 winning streaks of 10 games or more and 19 seasons with a 10–0 start. The program has 34 seasons with 10 wins or more (plus one vacated), and has 41 bowl victories, both NCAA records. Alabama has completed 10 undefeated seasons, 9 of which were perfect seasons. The Crimson Tide leads the SEC West Division with 14 division titles and 12 appearances in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama holds a winning record against every current and former SEC school. The Associated Press (AP) ranks Alabama 4th in all-time final AP Poll appearances, with 53 through the 2015 season.Alabama plays its home games at Bryant–Denny Stadium, located on the campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. With a capacity of 101,821, Bryant-Denny is the 8th largest non-racing stadium in the world and the seventh largest stadium in the United States.Auburn University
Auburn University (AU or Auburn) is a land-grant and public research university in Auburn, Alabama, United States. With more than 23,000 undergraduate students and a total enrollment of more than 30,000 with 1,260 faculty members, Auburn is the second largest university in Alabama. Auburn University is one of the state's two public flagship universities.Auburn was chartered on February 1, 1856, as East Alabama Male College, a private liberal arts school affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1872, under the Morrill Act, it became the state's first public land-grant university and was renamed as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. In 1892, it became the first four-year coeducational school in Alabama, and in 1899 was renamed Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) to reflect its changing mission. In 1960, its name was changed to Auburn University to acknowledge the varied academic programs and larger curriculum of a major university.Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham ( BUR-ming-ham) is a city located in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2017 population of 210,710, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2017, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,149,807, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's second largest city and, at the time, a major industrial city. The Alabama city annexed smaller neighbors and developed as an industrial center, based on mining, the new iron and steel industry, and rail transport. Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry. The city was developed as a place where cheap, non-unionized immigrant labor (primarily Irish and Italian), along with African-American labor from rural Alabama, could be employed in the city's steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over unionized industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast.
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the southern United States. Its growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it nicknames such as "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South". Its major industries were iron and steel production. Major components of the railroad industry, rails and railroad cars, were manufactured in Birmingham. Since the 1860s, the two primary hubs of railroading in the "Deep South" have been Birmingham and Atlanta. The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century. Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.
In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama School of Dentistry since 1947. In 1969 it gained the University of Alabama at Birmingham, one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System. It is home to three private institutions: Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, and Miles College. The Birmingham area has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. The city has three of the state's five law schools: Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, and Miles Law School. Birmingham is also the headquarters of the Southwestern Athletic Conference and the Southeastern Conference, one of the major U.S. collegiate athletic conferences.C. J. Mosley (linebacker)
Clint Mosley Jr. (born June 19, 1992) is an American football linebacker for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Alabama, and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.Channing Tatum
Channing Matthew Tatum (born April 26, 1980) is an American actor and singer. Tatum made his film debut in the drama film Coach Carter (2005). His breakthrough role was in the 2006 dance film Step Up, which introduced him to a wider audience. He is known for his portrayal of the character Duke in the 2009 action film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and its 2013 sequel G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Although both G.I. Joe films received negative reviews from critics, they were commercially successful, grossing more than $300 million each at the box office.
Tatum is also known for his leading role in Magic Mike (2012), and its sequel, Magic Mike XXL (2015) which he produced; he also starred in the action-comedy film 21 Jump Street and its 2014 sequel, 22 Jump Street. He appeared in romantic films such as Dear John (2010) and The Vow (2012). His other films include She's the Man (2006), The Dilemma (2011), White House Down (2013), the drama Foxcatcher (2014), The Hateful Eight (2015), Hail, Caesar! (2016), and Logan Lucky (2017).Courteney Cox
Courteney Bass Cox (born June 15, 1964) is an American actress, producer, and director. She is best known for her roles as Monica Geller on the NBC sitcom Friends, Gale Weathers in the horror series Scream, and Jules Cobb in the ABC/TBS sitcom Cougar Town, for which she earned her first Golden Globe nomination. Cox also starred in the FX series Dirt. She owns a production company, called Coquette Productions, which was created by Cox and her then-husband David Arquette. Cox also worked as a director on her sitcom Cougar Town and the television film Talhotblond.Forrest Gump
Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic comedy-drama film based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Eric Roth. The film stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field. The story depicts several decades in the life of Forrest Gump (Hanks), a slow-witted but kind-hearted man from Alabama who witnesses and, unwittingly, influences several defining historical events in the 20th century in the United States.
The film differs substantially from the novel. Principal photography took place in late 1993, mainly in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Extensive visual effects were used to incorporate Hanks into archived footage and develop other scenes. The soundtrack features songs reflecting the different periods seen in the film.
Released in the United States on July 6, 1994, Forrest Gump received favorable reviews for Zemeckis' directing, Hanks' performance, visual effects, and script. The film was an enormous success at the box office; it became the top-grossing film in North America released that year and earned over US$677 million worldwide during its theatrical run, making it the second highest-grossing film of 1994. The soundtrack sold over 12 million copies. Forrest Gump won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Hanks, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, and Best Film Editing. It won many other awards and nominations, including Golden Globes, People's Choice Awards, and Young Artist Awards.
Varying interpretations have been made of the protagonist and the film's political symbolism. In 1996, a restaurant based on the film, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, opened, and has since expanded to locations worldwide. In 2011, the Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".George Wallace
George Corley Wallace Jr. (August 25, 1919 – September 13, 1998) was the 45th Governor of Alabama, a position he occupied for four terms, during which he promoted "low-grade industrial development, low taxes, and trade schools". He sought the United States presidency as a Democrat three times, and once as an American Independent Party candidate, unsuccessfully each time. He is best remembered for his staunch segregationist and populist views. Wallace was known as "the most dangerous racist in America" and notoriously opposed desegregation and supported the policies of "Jim Crow" during the Civil Rights Movement, declaring in his 1963 inaugural address that he stood for "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever".Born in Clio, Alabama, Wallace attended the University of Alabama School of Law and served in United States Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, he won election to the Alabama House of Representatives and served as a state judge. Wallace first sought the Democratic nomination in the 1958 Alabama gubernatorial election. Initially a moderate on racial issues, Wallace adopted a hard-line segregationist stance after losing the 1958 nomination. Wallace ran for governor again in 1962, and won the race. Seeking to stop the racial integration of the University of Alabama, Wallace earned national notoriety by standing in front of the entrance of the University of Alabama, literally blocking the path of black students. Wallace left office after one term due to term limits, but his wife, Lurleen Wallace, won the next election and succeeded him, though he was the de facto governor.Wallace challenged sitting President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1964 Democratic presidential primaries, but Johnson prevailed in the race. In the 1968 presidential election, Wallace ran a third party campaign in an attempt to force a contingent election in the United States House of Representatives, thereby enhancing the political clout of segregationist Southern leaders. Wallace won five Southern states but failed to force a contingent election; As of 2019 he remains the most recent third-party candidate to receive pledged electoral college votes from any state. Wallace won election to another term as Governor of Alabama in 1970 and ran in the 1972 Democratic presidential primaries, once again campaigning for segregation. His campaign effectively ended when he was shot in Maryland by Arthur Bremer, and Wallace remained paralyzed below the waist for the rest of his life. Bremer was sentenced to 63 years in prison for the shooting, which was later reduced to 53 years following an appeal; he served 35 years of the reduced sentence and was paroled in 2007.
Wallace won re-election as governor in 1974, and he once again unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1976 Democratic presidential primaries. In the late 1970s, Wallace announced that he became a born again Christian and moderated his views on race, renouncing his past support for segregation. Wallace left office in 1979 but won election to a fourth and final term as governor in 1982. Wallace served 16 years and one day as Governor of Alabama, the third longest gubernatorial tenure in post-Constitutional U.S. history. Describing his impact on national politics despite his lack of success in presidential races, two biographers termed Wallace "the most influential loser" of 20th century American politics.Hank Williams
Hiram King "Hank" Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. Regarded as one of the most significant and influential American singers and songwriters of the 20th century, Williams recorded 35 singles (five released posthumously) that reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked number one (three posthumously).
Born in Mount Olive, Butler County, Alabama, Williams relocated to Georgiana with his family, where he met Rufus Payne, who gave him guitar lessons in exchange for meals or money. Payne had a major influence on Williams' later musical style, along with Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb. Williams would later relocate to Montgomery, where he began his music career in 1937, when producers at radio station WSFA hired him to perform and host a 15-minute program. He formed the Drifting Cowboys backup band, which was managed by his mother, and dropped out of school to devote his time to his career.
When several of his band members were conscripted into military service during World War II, Williams had trouble with their replacements, and WSFA terminated his contract because of his alcohol abuse. Williams eventually married Audrey Sheppard, who was his manager for nearly a decade. After recording "Never Again" and "Honky Tonkin'" with Sterling Records, he signed a contract with MGM Records. In 1947, he released "Move It on Over", which became a hit, and also joined the Louisiana Hayride radio program.
One year later, he released a cover of "Lovesick Blues" recorded at Herzog Studio in Cincinnati, which carried him into the mainstream of music. After an initial rejection, Williams joined the Grand Ole Opry. He was unable to read or notate music to any significant degree. Among the hits he wrote were "Your Cheatin' Heart", "Hey, Good Lookin'", and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry".
Years of back pain, alcoholism and prescription drug abuse severely compromised his health. In 1952, he divorced Sheppard and was dismissed by the Grand Ole Opry because of his unreliability and alcohol abuse. On New Year's Day 1953, he died suddenly while traveling to a concert in Canton, Ohio at the age of 29. Despite his short life, Williams is one of the most celebrated and influential popular musicians of the 20th century, especially in regards to country music.
Many artists covered songs Williams wrote and recorded. He influenced Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bob Dylan, among others. Williams was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame (1961), the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1970), and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987).Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County and south into Morgan County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 census. Huntsville is the third-largest city in Alabama and the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area, which at the 2013 census estimate had a total population of 683,871. The Huntsville Metropolitan Area's population was 417,593 in 2010 to become the 2nd largest in Alabama. Huntsville metro's population reached 441,000 by 2014.It grew across nearby hills north of the Tennessee River, adding textile mills, then munitions factories, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Huntsville to its "America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010" list.List of counties in Alabama
The U.S. state of Alabama has 67 counties. Each county serves as the local level of government within its borders. The land enclosed by the present state borders was joined to the United States of America gradually. Following the American Revolutionary War, West Florida was ceded to Spain by treaty while the remainder was organized primarily as the Mississippi Territory, and later the Alabama Territory. The territorial assembly established some of the earliest county divisions that have survived to the present, including the earliest county formation, that of Washington County, created on June 4, 1800. In 1814, the Treaty of Fort Jackson opened the territory to American settlers, which in turn led to a more rapid rate of county creation. Alabama was admitted to the Union as the 22nd state in 1819. The Alabama state legislature formed additional counties from former native lands as the Indian Removal Act took effect and settlers populated different areas of Alabama. In 1820, Alabama had 29 counties. By 1830 there were 36 and Native Americans still occupied large areas of land in northeast and far western Alabama. By 1840, 49 counties had been created; 52 by 1850; 65 by 1870; and the present 67 counties by 1903. Houston County was the last county created in the state, on February 9, 1903.According to 2010 U. S. Census data, the average population of Alabama's 67 counties is 71,399, with Jefferson County as the most populous (658,466), and Greene County (9,045) the least. The average land area is 756 sq mi (1,958 km2). The largest county is Baldwin (1,590 sq mi, 4,118 km2) and the smallest is Etowah (535 sq mi, 1,386 km2). The Constitution of Alabama requires that any new county in Alabama cover at least 600 square miles (1,600 km2) in area, effectively limiting the creation of new counties in the state.The Alabama Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division issues standard automobile license plates that bear a one- or two-digit number identifying the county in which the vehicle is registered. This number is given in the fourth column in the table below. The first three prefixes are reserved for the state's historically most populous counties, and thereafter proceed alphabetically. Individual license plate numbers are assigned sequentially in each licensing office. The numbers are in the format XAA1111 or XXAA111, depending on whether the prefix is one or two digits. Overflow registrations are accommodated by substituting a letter for one of the registration numbers, such that XXZ999Z is followed by XXA0A0A. Outdated Info for current plates (2014)
The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, used by the United States government to uniquely identify counties, is provided with each entry. The FIPS code links in the table point to U. S. Census "quick facts" pages for each county.Mark Ingram Jr.
Mark Valentino Ingram Jr. (born December 21, 1989) is an American football running back for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL), last playing for the New Orleans Saints. He played college football for the University of Alabama, won the Heisman Trophy, and was a member of a national championship team. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
During his sophomore college season in 2009, Ingram won the first Heisman Trophy ever awarded to an Alabama Crimson Tide player, set the Crimson Tide's single-season rushing record with 1,658 yards, was recognized as a unanimous All-American, and helped lead the Tide to an undefeated 14–0 season and the 2010 BCS National Championship.Since entering the NFL in 2011, Ingram has earned two Pro Bowl selections (2014 and 2017). In 2018, he received a four-game suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.Mobile, Alabama
Mobile ( moh-BEEL; French pronunciation: [mɔ.bil]) is the county seat of Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 as of the 2010 United States Census, making it the third most populous city in Alabama, the most populous in Mobile County, and the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida.
Alabama's only saltwater port, Mobile is located on the Mobile River at the head of the Mobile Bay and the north-central Gulf Coast. The Port of Mobile has always played a key role in the economic health of the city, beginning with the settlement as an important trading center between the French colonists and Native Americans, down to its current role as the 12th-largest port in the United States.Mobile is the principal municipality of the Mobile metropolitan area. This region of 412,992 residents is composed solely of Mobile County; it is the third-largest metropolitan statistical area in the state. Mobile is the largest city in the Mobile-Daphne−Fairhope CSA, with a total population of 604,726, the second largest in the state. As of 2011, the population within a 60-mile (100 km) radius of Mobile is 1,262,907.Mobile was established in 1702 by the French as the first capital of colonial La Louisiane (New France). During its first 100 years, Mobile was a colony of France, then Britain, and lastly Spain. Mobile first became a part of the United States of America in 1813, with the annexation by President James Madison of West Florida from Spain. In 1861, Alabama joined the Confederate States of America, which surrendered in 1865.Considered one of the Gulf Coast's cultural centers, Mobile has several art museums, a symphony orchestra, professional opera, professional ballet company, and a large concentration of historic architecture. Mobile is known for having the oldest organized Carnival or Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. Its French Catholic colonial settlers celebrated this festival from the first decade of the 18th century. Beginning in 1830, Mobile was host to the first formally organized Carnival mystic society to celebrate with a parade in the United States. (In New Orleans such a group is called a krewe.)Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Two ships of the United States Navy have been named after the city, including USS Montgomery.Montgomery has also been recognized nationally for its downtown revitalization and new urbanism projects. It was one of the first cities in the nation to implement Smart Code Zoning.Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American jazz pianist and vocalist. He recorded over one hundred songs that became hits on the pop charts. His trio was the model for small jazz ensembles that followed. Cole also acted in films and on television and performed on Broadway. He was the first African American man to host an American television series.National Register of Historic Places listings in Alabama
This is a list of buildings, sites, districts, and objects listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Alabama.
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted March 22, 2019.Nick Saban
Nicholas Lou Saban Jr. (; born October 31, 1951) is an American football coach who has been the head football coach at the University of Alabama since 2007. Saban previously served as head coach of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins and at three other universities: Louisiana State University (LSU), Michigan State University, and the University of Toledo. Saban's career record as a college head coach is 232–63–1.Saban led the LSU Tigers to the BCS National Championship in 2003 and the Alabama Crimson Tide to BCS and AP national championships in 2009, 2011, 2012, and College Football Playoff championships in 2015 and 2017. He became the first coach in college football history to win a national championship with two different Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools since the inception of the AP Poll in 1936. Saban and Bear Bryant are the only coaches to win an SEC championship at two different schools.In 2013, Saban was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Saban is considered by many to be the greatest coach in college football history. He is tied with Bryant for most major college football national championships for a coach in the modern era.Rosa Parks
Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her "the first lady of civil rights" and "the mother of the freedom movement".On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks rejected bus driver James F. Blake's order to relinquish her seat in the "colored section" to a white passenger, after the whites-only section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation, but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) believed that she was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws. Parks' prominence in the community and her willingness to become a controversial figure inspired the black community to boycott the Montgomery buses for over a year, the first major direct action campaign of the post-war civil rights movement. Her case became bogged down in the state courts, but the federal Montgomery bus lawsuit Browder v. Gayle succeeded in November 1956.Parks' act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in Montgomery who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement and went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
At the time, Parks was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP. She had recently attended the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee center for training activists for workers' rights and racial equality. She acted as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store, and received death threats for years afterwards.
Shortly after the boycott, she moved to Detroit, where she briefly found similar work. From 1965 to 1988 she served as secretary and receptionist to John Conyers, an African-American US Representative. She was also active in the Black Power movement and the support of political prisoners in the US.
After retirement, Parks wrote her autobiography and continued to insist that the struggle for justice was not over and there was more work to be done. In her final years, she suffered from dementia. Parks received national recognition, including the NAACP's 1979 Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, and a posthumous statue in the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall. Upon her death in 2005, she was the first woman to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, becoming the third of only four Americans to ever receive this honor. California and Missouri commemorate Rosa Parks Day on her birthday February 4, while Ohio and Oregon commemorate the occasion on the anniversary of the day she was arrested, December 1.University of Alabama
The University of Alabama (Alabama or UA) is a public research university in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It is the flagship of the University of Alabama System. Established in 1820, the University of Alabama (UA) is the oldest and largest of the public universities in Alabama. The university offers programs of study in 13 academic divisions leading to bachelor's, master's, Education Specialist, and doctoral degrees. The only publicly supported law school in the state is at UA. Other academic programs unavailable elsewhere in Alabama include doctoral programs in anthropology, communication and information sciences, metallurgical engineering, music, Romance languages, and social work.
As one of the first public universities established in the early 19th century southwestern frontier of the United States, the University of Alabama has left a cultural imprint on the state, region and nation over the past two centuries. The school was a center of activity during the American Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. The University of Alabama varsity football program (nicknamed the Crimson Tide), which was inaugurated in 1892, ranks as one of 10 winningest programs in US history. In a 1913 speech then-president George H. Denny extolled the university as the "capstone of the public school system in the state [of Alabama]," lending the university its current nickname, The Capstone. The University of Alabama has consistently been ranked as one of the top 50 public universities in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. In addition, The University of Alabama has produced a total of 51 Goldwater Scholars, 15 Rhodes Scholars, 16 Truman Scholars, 32 Hollings Scholars and 11 Boren Scholars.
|Alabama state symbols|
The Flag of Alabama
The Seal of Alabama
|Amphibian||Red Hills salamander|
|Bird||Yellowhammer, wild turkey|
|Butterfly||Eastern tiger swallowtail|
|Fish||Largemouth bass, fighting tarpon|
|Flower||Camellia, oak-leaf hydrangea|
|Horse breed||Racking horse|
|Mammal||American black bear|
|Reptile||Alabama red-bellied turtle|
|Beverage||Conecuh Ridge Whiskey|
|Food||Pecan, blackberry, peach|
|Gemstone||Star blue quartz|
|Slogan||Share The Wonder, |
Alabama the beautiful,
Where America finds its voice,
Sweet Home Alabama
|State route marker|
Released in 2003
|Lists of United States state symbols|
|Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Alabama cities [°F (°C)]|
|Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
|Two or more races||–||1.0%||1.5%|