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A history of Alabama's prognosticating possum and its 2 celebrity groundhogs
We Alabamians like to be different. The folks at one Albertville radio station thought celebrating Groundhog Day with a, you know, groundhog, was just too common. After all, everyone hauls out a groundhog on Groundhog Day. Instead, 105.1 WQSB celebrates with a possum known as Sand Mountain Sam, which predicts the weather on air each Feb. 2 with the help of "possum whisperer" Dee Miller.
Still, Alabama does have two celebrity groundhogs who make appearances - Birmingham Bill and Smith Lake Jake.
Here's a look at Alabama's famous rodents:
Species: Groundhog, aka woodchuck
Home: Birmingham Zoo
Handler: Kelly Garrison
Groundhog Day appearance: Birmingham Bill will emerge from his habitat following a show Tuesday in the Birmingham Zoo auditorium. Games and activities begin at 9 a.m., followed by a wildlife show at 10 a.m. and photos with Bill at 10:30 a.m. Event included in zoo admission.
History: Birmingham Bill has been at the zoo since before Kelly Garrison's arrival more than 10 years ago, she said. His background is "part of the mystery of Birmingham Bill," she said. Bill can only be seen on Groundhog Day and at special wildlife shows. He cannot be seen in a zoo exhibit but "lives behind the scenes."
SMITH LAKE JAKE
Home: Graysville, Ala., at the home of Heath and Ginger Whitworth
Handler: Ginger Whitworth
Groundhog Day appearance: Jake "is not an early riser," Ginger says, and typically does not emerge to make a prediction until 10 a.m. Jake does not forecast based on his shadow, Ginger said. "If hairs on his tail stand up, we'll have more winter. But, if he's happy and calm, spring is on its way." The results are typically broadcast on Fox 6 TV in Birmingham however, a station spokeswoman said Jake will not appear for Groundhog Day 2016. Instead, check Jake's website for updates.
History: Jake, known for wearing flashy hats and often sporting seasonal costumes, was discovered in the wild several years ago and adopted by the Whitworths. He "comes in and out of the doggie door whenever he pleases, digs burrows in the basement and sometime sleeps with us," Ginger said. Jake also makes predictions on "American Idol" winners and political races and makes appearances in parades and at festivals.
Favorite foods: Smith Lake Jake loves spaghetti, key lime pie, Milo's Tea and chocolate milk shakes.
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona was announced as the host site in December 2013, along with 2017 host Raymond James Stadium. The Arizona Organizing Committee, co-chaired by Brad Wright and Win Holden, hosted the game.
|Semifinals||2016 Championship Game|
|December 31 – Orange Bowl|
|4||Oklahoma||17||January 11 – National Championship|
|December 31 – Cotton Bowl||2||Alabama||45|
The championship game marked the 16th meeting between the two schools. The last previous meeting was the season opener in the 2008 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
Alabama was led by head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide played Michigan State in the semifinals at the 2015 Cotton Bowl Classic, winning 38–0.
Clemson was led by head coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers played Oklahoma in the semifinals at the 2015 Orange Bowl, winning 37–17.
|Calvin Ridley 1||WR||Artavis Scott|
|Richard Mullaney||WR||Charone Peake 7|
|Cam Robinson 2||LT||Mitch Hyatt|
|Ross Pierschbacher 5||LG||Eric Mac Lain|
|† Ryan Kelly 1||C||Jay Guillermo|
|Alphonse Taylor||RG||Tyrone Crowder Jr.|
|Dominick Jackson||RT||Joe Gore|
|O. J. Howard 1||TE||Jordan Leggett 5|
|ArDarius Stewart 3||WR||Hunter Renfrow 5|
|Jake Coker||QB||† Deshaun Watson 1|
|† Derrick Henry 2||RB||Wayne Gallman 4|
|† A'Shawn Robinson 2||DL||DE||† Shaq Lawson 1|
|Jonathan Allen 1||DL||DT||D. J. Reader 5|
|Jarran Reed 2||DL||DT||Carlos Watkins 4|
|Minkah Fitzpatrick 1||CB||DE||Kevin Dodd 2|
|Denzel Devall||JLB||SLB||Travis Blanks|
|† Reggie Ragland 2||MLB||B. J. Goodson 4|
|Reuben Foster 1||WLB||Ben Boulware|
|Cyrus Jones 2||CB||Mackensie Alexander 2|
|Marlon Humphrey 1||CB||Cordrea Tankersley 3|
|Eddie Jackson 4||SS||Jayron Kearse 7|
|Geno Matias-Smith||FS||T. J. Green 2|
|†= 2015 All-American|
|Selected in an NFL Draft |
(number corresponds to draft round)
Alabama came off a stellar defensive performance in the semifinal game, and was looking to contain Clemson's QB Deshaun Watson, but Alabama defense was quickly forced into conceding most of the field and stopping Clemson in the redzone. Alabama's offense was stressed at the line of scrimmage by Clemson's defensive line led by Shaq Lawson. Despite being statistically outplayed by Clemson (550 Clemson offensive yards to 473 Alabama) offensively and statistically tied in other areas, Alabama was able to capitalize on three key plays: an interception of Deshaun Watson's pass early in the second quarter, a surprise Alabama onside kick early in the fourth quarter, and an Alabama kickoff return for a touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter. These plays accounted for 21 points, and Alabama won the game 45 to 40.
Having won the coin toss to start the game, Clemson elected to defer to the second half. Characteristic of Alabama, the offensive opening drive was slow and cautious but notable for utilizing Derrick Henry four times, a change from the semifinal game against Michigan. Alabama and Clemson would trade punting drives before, on the next Alabama possession, Derrick Henry was utilized three times. On the third run, Derrick found an opening for a 50-yard touchdown run (7-0). However, on the next two Clemson possessions Deshaun Watson used his speed, agility, and elusiveness to sustain drives with a mixture of QB runs and fade routes against Alabama's top-ranked defense. Both drives ended in TD throws to Hunter Renfrow (7-14), the latter of which ended the first quarter.
On Alabama's next possession to start the second quarter, despite a promising start in a 29-yard pass to Richard Mullaney, Alabama's offensive line conceded a sack by Kevin Dodd and a tackle for loss on Derrick Henry. Characteristic of Alabama, facing third and long offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin opted for extra field position on a punt with a short throw to Ridley rather than attempting a first down pass. On the ensuing Clemson drive Deshaun Watson was intercepted by Eddie Jackson at the Clemson 42 yard line. The resulting Alabama possession culminated in a 1-yard TD run by Derrick Henry (14-14). After this flurry, both Clemson and Alabama played more cautiously as each of the three following possessions by both teams went no further than 40 yards. Clemson's last possession of the half resulted in a blocked field goal.
Going into the third quarter, Clemson opted to receive the ball but was forced into a quick three and out. On Alabama's next possession, TE OJ Howard found himself open in space for a 53-yard touchdown (21-14). Clemson responded with a mixture of QB runs, pass plays by Deshaun Watson, and key run plays by RB Wayne Gallman on its next two drives to get a 37-yard field goal by Greg Hugel (21-17) and a 1-yard touchdown run by Wayne Gallman (21-24). Both teams were then stalled for three and outs or near three and outs on their next two possessions to close the Third quarter.
On Alabama's first possession of the fourth quarter, Jacob Coker found ArDarius Stewart in single man coverage for 38 yards. This gain, however, did not translate into a touchdown as the offense was stalled by good secondary play from Clemson. Alabama settled for a field goal from 33 yards to tie the game (24-24). On the ensuing kickoff Alabama gambled on a surprise onside kick, executed to perfection by Adam Griffith and caught by Marlon Humphrey. Alabama capitalized almost immediately with another 50+ touchdown pass to a wide open OJ Howard (31-24). Clemson pulled within 4 once again. However, Alabama's defense held in the red zone and forced a field goal from Clemson (31-27). On the ensuing kickoff, Alabama RB Kenyan Drake stunned Clemson by taking the ball 95 yards for an Alabama touchdown (38-27). Deshaun Watson quickly answered with an 8 play 75 yard touchdown drive which culminated in a 15-yard touchdown pass to WR Artavius Scott. In attempt to pull within three points of Alabama (and thus within a field goal of tying the game), Clemson attempted a two-point conversion with what morphed into a naked bootleg QB run by Deshaun Watson which was stopped short (38-33). On Alabama's next possession QB Jacob Coker passed the ball in a checkdown screen to OJ Howard who, getting good blocking, ran for 63 yards. With less than 3 minutes left in the game, ran the ball up the middle to convert downs. After a key third down scramble for a first down by Jacob Coker, Derrick Henry, on third down, broke the touchdown plane with the nose of the ball over the top of the goal line pile of players for a 1-yard TD run (45-33). A stellar performance by Deshaun Watson on a 55-second drive culminated in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett with 12 seconds left on the clock (45-40). Clemson attempted an onside kick but the ball was recovered by Alabama sealing their victory. This was the fourth Alabama national championship win in seven years, its first of the College Football Playoff era, and head coach Nick Saban's fifth overall.
Scoring summary Edit
|Time of possession||30:31||29:29|
The game was broadcast in the United States by ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Radio, with Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit as English commentators on TV, and Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega as Spanish commentators. In Brazil, the game was broadcast on ESPN Brazil by Everaldo Marques (play by play) and Antony Curti (color commentator). As in 2015, ESPN provided Megacast coverage of the game, which supplemented coverage with analysis and additional perspectives of the game on different ESPN channels and platforms.  
The 35 greatest musicians born in Alabama
There are many places one may come and go in life, but none of us have agency over where we are born. Throughout the 67 counties in Alabama, some mighty important people to the music world took their first breaths within state borders. AL.com reporters Jared Boyd, Mary Colurso and Matt Wake determined the top 35 musicians born in Alabama. Here's a look at their picks, in no particular order.
Birthplace: Mount Olive
“Move It On Over” was released almost 70 years ago, and anyone in the metaphorical doghouse with their significant other this very second can still relate. Such was Hank Williams’ way with turning a phrase. And with singing those phrases. In showbiz, kids, they call that stuff star-power. Williams had it pouring out of ashen skin – a lot of it having to do with balancing light and dark, sanctified and sultry. For every “Jambalaya” there was an “I’ll Never Get Out of This Life Alive.” For every “I Saw the Light,” a “Hey Good Lookin’.” Like many riveting artists, Williams was always teetering between being dangerous and being catchy. It eventually caught up to him, in the backseat of a Cadillac in 1953 on the way to another show. Unlike rock, R&B and rap which each took time to evolve to their respective zeniths, what a drag it must be to be every country singer/songwriter since Williams and know you’ll never beat what that 1953 corpse did.
Can you say "superstar"? In many ways, Lionel Richie, 67, is a perfect example of the term. He's achieved superlative success, fusing pop with R&B in delightful, dramatic, often highly danceable ways. Using his years with the Commodores as a solid springboard, Richie forged a solo career that dominated radio stations (and MTV's video rotation) during the 1980s. He released a string of multiplatinum albums, spinning off signature songs such as "Truly," "My Love," "You Are," "All Night Long (All Night)," "Hello," "Penny Lover," "Say You, Say Me," "Dancing on the Ceiling," and "Running With the Night." Sometimes called "the black Barry Manilow" — a compliment or a criticism, depending on your point of view — Richie excelled in the music world and returned to it in the late ➐s as a household name. This singer, songwriter and producer continues to connect with new generations of fans, and his oh-so-catchy songbook has enduring appeal.
Precise and elegant, versatile and creative, Emmylou Harris stands out from the crowd. Over the course of her long and distinguished career, Harris, 69, has set the gold standard for singer-songwriters in the Americana world. Declining to be pigeonholed as folk or country during the 1970s, she nimbly genre-hopped, adding bluegrass, rock and other rootsy sounds to her repertoire. Her partnership with Gram Parsons? Legendary. Her collaborations with a score of other artists, from John Prine to Willie Nelson to Rodney Crowell? Exquisite. Her respect among her peers? Unparalleled. Harris might not be the showiest chart-topper, but she's won 13 Grammy Awards, released more than 20 albums and consistently proved her worth. Her catalog of originals and covers includes gems such as "Boulder to Birmingham," "Pancho and Lefty," "Red Dirt Girl," "If I Could Only Win Your Love," "Hard Bargain" and many more. She remains a reliable stunner, making music that matters.
The shag-carpet crushing unity jam “Love Train.” The elegant strings-swaddled smash “Back Stabbers.” The dramatic phased whoosh of “For the Love of Money.” Eddie Levert’s yearning lead vocals gave The O’Jays sleek Philadelphia soul a bluesy backbone on those and other essential recordings. Fueled by a stack of Gamble & Huff-written hits, which also included “Now That We Found Love,” “Use Ta Be My Girl” and “Give the People What They Want,” the O’Jays tracks would go on to become a favorite of TV and film music supervisors. With their shiny matching suits and groovy choreography this Canton, Ohio-formed vocal group has always been smooth. Levert’s vocals added just the right of scuff.
The superstitious ritual of knocking on wood to protect yourself from jinxing your fortunes is believed by experts to date back to early British history centuries ago. But, the act of knocking on wood nor the phrase "knock on wood" didn't get funky until it ended up in Eddie Floyd's hands. For that, American music lovers are forever in gratitude. Many have covered the song without ever coming close to the thick, lively baritone of the originator. Even though "Knock" has afforded Floyd enduring popularity in oldies radio formats, it isn't his highest charting hit. That distinction goes to "Bring it On Home". Yeah. I'm surprised, too. But, what is no surprise is that Floyd wasn't a fly-by-night star. He is a tenured soul man, still doing his thing today. The list of album cuts worth everyone's while in his Stax and Malaco catalog is way too long to even attempt shouting out names of songs. If you pass by a Floyd 7-inch or LP in your local record store, chances are it's quality. He's one of the slickest in the game!
You know how people like to snicker about how all formerly hell-raising musicians make lame music once they get sober? Jason Isbell completely dispelled that crock. In 2013, after going to rehab, the former Jack Daniel's enthusiast released the clear-eyed LP "Southeastern." Tracks like "Cover Me Up," "Stockholm" and "Super 8" set the standard for 21 st century Americana. A master of story-songs since his Drive-By Truckers days penning war-horses like "Dress Blues," four albums into his solo career Isbell was putting more of himself into his material than ever. Love and sobriety fueled "Southeastern." In 2015, Isbell followed with an even more compelling disc. "Something More Than Free" songs like "Children of Children" and "Hudson Commodore" were four-minute, aural novels. Isbell's Grammy-winning cut "24 Frames" contained a lyric Bob Dylan would be happy to write: "You thought God was an architect. Now you know. He's something like a pipe-bomb ready to blow."
The song outlived him and it will outlive you and me too. Percy Sledge’s chart-topping 1966 ballad “When a Man Loves a Woman” is the kind of track you can hang an entire career on. The song’s lyrics convey sentiments anyone who's ever had their heart broken – or broken someone else’s - can feel. Still it’s the conviction, feel and wallop of Sledge’s church-honed voice that sells “When a Man Loves a Woman” over. Especially on those high notes during the bridge. Even though the song’s been played a trillion times by now and been used in countless sappy TV and movie scenes, the emotional impact hasn’t been diluted. (Even though the trumpet’s out of tune.) A Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Sledge scored other hits during his career, including "Take Time to Know Her," "Warm and Tender Love," "It Tears Me Up," "Cover Me" and "I'll Be Your Everything." But after “When A Man Loves a Woman,” he didn’t need to give us anything else.
Sun Ra, in name, describes a man whose life encompassed many monikers, sounds and ideologies. Born Herman Poole Blount, Sun Ra's impact on Earth redefined the expectations of a mere composer. Instead, he carried himself in a manner similar to that of a spiritual leader. Sun Ra led his stable of musicians, known as an "The Arkestra," in teachings that felt like a cosmic cousin to comparable Black theologies such as the Nation of Islam. Tying Ra to his Birmingham roots almost seems cruel, as his constant fixation on outer space suggests no city or state was suitable enough to contain his perception of reality. This isn't your typical jazz man. And, although his boundless approach to the genre might sound like a jumbled mosaic to listeners who have yet to be oriented, meticulous execution is ever apparent in Sun Ra's recordings.
As a vocalist, Brittany Howard is an undisputed supernova. Soulful. Powerful. Transcendent. A magnetic live performer, with an increasingly iconoclastic fashion sense. But what separates Howard, 27, from damn near every other rock musician in her generation is her musical creativity. With Howard at the controls, Alabama Shakes took a giant step forward on the Athens band’s sophomore album “Sound & Color.” Shades of psychedelia, alt-rock and Afro-beat spiked the garage-soul the Shakes rode to fame on their frisky but overrated 2012 debut “Boys & Girls.” The much more sonically interesting “Sound & Color” songs, like the title track, “Gemini,” “Dunes” and “Don’t Wanna Fight,” blew listeners away, won multiple Grammys and made us all wonder where Howard will take the Shakes to next.
Birthplace: Union Springs
The Temptations was a group filled with a storied cast of characters. Among them, there were many Alabamans (Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams and Dennis Edwards were born in the state). With all due respect to group co-founder Melvin, Eddie Kendricks stands out as the most essential of the Alabama Temps, taking lead on "The Way You Do the Things You" and "Just My Imagination." At the Temptations' height, David Ruffin was their fire, but Kendricks was their ice. And when I say the man was cool. Without four soul stars behind him, Eddie forged his way into a consistent solo career with albums that still stand the test of time. Critically, Kendricks' output is impenetrable. Disco hit "Keep on Truckin'" was a sneak-diss of sorts a nod to his continued success after leaving his old compatriots. "My People Hold On" and "Intimate Friends" are two deep cuts that have kept his legacy alive through incessant sampling in the hip-hop and R&B world.
His music is timeless. But those four words really don’t suffice to explain the velvety genius of Nat King Cole (1919-1965). More than 50 years after his death, he remains the ultimate crooner, making hearts beat faster with his indelible interpretations of classic songs such as “Unforgettable,” “Mona Lisa,” “Stardust,” “Smile” and “When I Fall in Love.” A jazz pianist and composer, as well as a singer, Nathaniel Adams Coles helped to define the Great American Songbook. His work in the jazz trio format was groundbreaking, and although he faced racism — vigilantes stormed the stage in 1956, for example, when Cole performed one of two segregated concerts at Birmingham’s Boutwell Auditorium — he was extremely popular with fans both black and white. Cole also broke through color barriers in broadcasting, sponsoring a radio program, “King Cole Trio Time,” in the 1940s and hosting a TV variety show, “The Nat King Cole Show,” in the 1950s.
We may be far removed in time from the 1970s, Wet Willie's heyday in the southern rock scene. But you can be sure that, Lord willin', there will be many years ahead in which Jimmy Hall will be fluttering around onstage, jumping from lead vocals to saxophone to harmonica with ease. Born in Birmingham and raised in Mobile, Hall continues to leave so much of himself on stage that it can even prove to be laborious for onlookers to behold, with energy so infectious that you simply cannot remain seated. Hall nabbed a Top 40 hit with his 1980 solo single, "I'm Happy That Love Has Found You", contributing to the calming yacht rock that provided the early part of the decade with a more adult-contemporary counterpart to new wave sensibilities. Fans would likely agree, though, that Hall's voice is better suited for uptempo, red-hot soul. He does it like none other.
He's honest and authentic. Tough and tender. Emotional yet understated. And oh, so talented. Singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson has defied Nashville trends, earning fame for ruggedly poetic songs that stand toe-to-toe with some of the best anthems in traditional country music. Johnson's big break came in 2008 with "That Lonesome Song," an album that included his smash single "In Color." This nostalgic ballad made listeners teary — in a very good way — and earned awards from the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music, along with a Grammy nomination. It also set the tone for the rest of Johnson's career, as he follows his own muse in a stubbornly independent way. Does he continually top the charts? No. But Johnson, 41, is the real deal.
Odetta, a majestic folk, blues and gospel singer, did much more than perform for rapt audiences. She helped to change the world, raising consciousness and evoking thought during the civil rights movement. After coming up in folk clubs and touring around the country, the woman born Odetta Holmes (1930-2008) made her strongest mark by performing with fervent grace at marches and rallies. She knew how to combine protest with inspiration. She called for change in a memorable and meaningful way. Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie were her contemporaries. Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were her followers. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. were her admirers. Her cover of "We Shall Overcome" became a staple for freedom fighters, and she sang "O Freedom" at the 1963 March on Washington. Odetta was beloved by celebrities and foot soldiers during her lifetime, and she remains a symbol of hope and freedom.
Big Mama Thornton is one the great examples of a truly unsung American icon. The original performer of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's "Hound Dog," three years prior to Elvis' rendition, Mama might not be a household name. What she lacks in notoriety, she makes up for with an abundance of spunk, commanding audiences by belting out lyrics from the pit of her gut, all with a big, snaggle-toothed smile. Let's keep it real, her foot-stompin' "Hound Dog" is superior to the Presley classic. Even before considering Thornton's actual delivery of the material, the song's narrative was written with a sick'n'tired woman in mind. Thornton perfectly portrays the woes a participant in a worn-out relationship, writhe with infidelity. Remove that context, and the song changes dramatically. Unfortunately, this example would not signify the last time Thornton's rhythm & blues work was co-opted to spark a rock 'n' roll legend. Janis Joplin covered Thornton's "Ball n' Chain" to great success in the late 1960s. Talk about Big Mama drama!
Be mindful with Candi Staton. If you allow yourself to, you may look back on her career as the "First Lady of Southern Soul" and regard her as the undeniable vocal force and sex symbol that she was during her tenure among the talent at Muscle Shoal's FAME Recording Studios. You wouldn't be wrong, but you might want to also acknowledge her beginnings and current endeavors as an accomplished gospel artist. Personal liberation is a theme that has come full circle in Staton's career. Her 1976 disco smash "Young Hearts Run Free" described a desperate tale of a woman longing to break out of an abusive romance. Her latest inspirational album is titled "It's Time to Be Free." This time, her message relates to freedom from sin and despair in favor of God's mercies. Her message and image may have shifted, but her broad, home-grown voice has been unwavering throughout countless titles in her discography.
It’s the kind of sandpapery treble-gashing tone white rockers have been aiming for, well, since white dudes have been rocking. Wilson Pickett’s rasp was the real deal though. Pickett broke through on swaggering 1965 cut “In the Midnight Hour,” which the singer co-wrote with guitarist Steve Cropper at the same Memphis hotel civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. would be shot outside of, about three years later. “The Wicked” Pickett continued his rise with slinky 1966 smash “Mustang Sally.” The following year he released a Southern R&B version of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” featuring a Duane Allman guitar solo Eric Clapton has called one of his all-time favorites. Allman’s solo is killer. But Pickett’s plate-reverb rattling screams during the coda are goosebumps-inducing.
"Is My Living in Vain" Dr. Mattie Moss Clark asks on one her most famous performances, a song written by her daughter Twinkie Clark. No one at AL.com proclaims to be the final judge of eternal rewards, but we certainly believe Clark's contributions to gospel music are worth her nomination to this list. Clark is the mother of five daughters whom she coached to their own celebrated gospel careers. As a minister and teacher, Clark is unmatched. Moreover, her voice, organ work and songwriting live on as unparalleled, even to this day. Modern music in the black church stand on her shoulders.
Although Jimmy Johnson is known for his studio work, to truly appreciate his guitar playing it helps to see the man play live. To hear and see all the subtle things he does. Because the beauty of Johnson’s playing lies not in galaxy melting super solos, but in nifty chord inversions, percussive right-hand stuff and concise single-line bursts. Like his fellow Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section colleagues, Johnson has compiled a marvelous body of recordings. Wilson Pickett. Aretha. Percy Sledge. Paul Simon. Cher. Staples Singers. Bob Seger. Bobby “Blue” Bland. Etta James. And oh yeah, Johnson was also the recording engineer when the Rolling Stones cut “Brown Sugar,” “Wild Horses” and “You Gotta Move” in the Shoals.
Gucci Mane was almost lumped into our recent list of the South's Most Underrated Rappers, as many longtime fans of the genre dismiss his lazy drawl as a detracting factor to his steady, metered rap flow. It isn't easy to rhyme so precisely in the pocket like Gucci, though. In fact, in an interview with VladTV.com in 2006, Gucci cited his Alabama upbringing as the secret ingredient to his success. "I get my diction, the way I speak and talk from Alabama," he says. "But, I get the words I choose from Atlanta. That's what makes me probably the best rapper in the world right now." Was Gucci probably the best rapper in the world then? No. However, despite several stints in prison, he's proven himself to be a hip-hop mainstay since then, even finding time to share the wealth by orchestrating the careers of hip-hop's foremost stars. He's kick-started the careers of Migos, Future, Young Dolph, Nicki Minaj, Waka Flocka Flame and many more. And after rumors that he was killed and cloned before being released again from prison in May, Gucci's unrelenting work ethic doesn't seem to be slowing down one bit.
Chuck Leavell's resume is ridiculous: By the age of 20, he was a member of the Allman Brothers Band, playing rollicking, sparkling piano on such songs as "Jessica," "Southbound," "Ramblin' Man." Ten years later, Leavell began touring stadiums with the Rolling Stones. He's been a fixture with the Stones ever since, recording, performing and serving as musical director for "The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band." Later on, Leavell tracked piano and organ for upstart blues-rockers Black Crowes' multi-platinum 1990 debut "Shake Your Money Maker," which featured the hits "Hard to Handle," "She Talks to Angels" and Jealous Again." He also did time with Eric Clapton, contributing significantly to the guitar god's Grammy-winning acoustic disc "Unplugged." We haven't even gotten to Leavell's George Harrison and Dr. John credits yet.
If American music has a Rushmore, W.C. Handy might not be a popular choice among contemporary listeners, but music historians would likely rally around his importance to the infrastructure of the industry. A highly touted trumpeter and band leader, Handy further cemented his legacy by honing in on legitimizing the business of Southern rural folkways by making strides in sheet music composition and publishing. Songs like "The Memphis Blues" and "The St. Louis Blues" are a far cry from the Top 40 fare today, but Handy was an early American pop star due to his accessible blues-ragtime fusions. His repertoire offered something for everyone, reaching across color lines, genre and tastes. That's the tried and true formula of pop in this country. It's hard to think of him in the same light as our current, selfie-crazed, teeny-bopping music staples. That's essentially what we was, though.
If it’s a ’60s or ’70s hit and you can sing the bass line to, there’s a decent chance that’s David Hood’s playing – regardless of genre. The Staple Singers' gospel-soul jam "I'll Take You There.” Paul Simon's "Loves Me Like A Rock." Jimmy Cliff's "Sitting In Limbo." Etta James’ “Tell Mama.” Bob Seger's rock ballad "Mainstreet.” Hood supplied rubbery, propulsive low-end to Traffic’s jammy 1975 disc “Shootout At The Fantasy Factory” and on that British band’s live album that followed, “On the Road.” As a founding member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, he’s also played on sessions ranging from Aretha Franklin and Clarence Carter to Frank Black and The Waterboys. A credit Hood likely takes more pride in than any others mentioned above: fathering Drive-By Truckers band leader Patterson Hood.
Birthplace: Muscle Shoals
Speaking of the devil! With guitars enveloping his thin, raspy voice, Patterson Hood and the Drive-By Truckers are an undisputed treasure in southern rock. A mainstay since the mid-1990s, DBT's revolving door of talent has accomplished several stylistic shifts, to which Hood always adapted comfortably. Fans are now associating pockets of Alabama's music scene as hotbeds for "Americana." Buzz-word? Maybe. Umbrella term? Totally. But, whatever it truly means, it is hard to think that guys like the younger Hood didn't help shape the Alabaman identity associated with the phrasing.
Birthplace: Center Star
Removing Spooner Oldham from Muscle Shoals music history would leave a lake-sized hole. He played the Wurlitzer licks that set the sexy tone for Aretha Franklin's smoldering 1967 hit "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" from the very first note. Oldham also played on other Franklin hits like “Respect” and “Chain of Fools.” As well as contributing organ to Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally” and Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman.” A member of studio musician collective Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, aka The Swampers, Oldham also made his mark co-writing hits with Dan Penn including “I’m Your Puppet,” “Cry Like a Baby” and “A Woman Left Lonely.” Session work on Neil Young’s woodsy 1972 LP “Harvest” led to a long-running gig on the road with Young. Newer generations of musicians, like Amos Lee and Cat Power, have enlisted Oldham for recordings too, looking to tap into his smoky sound.
He's got soul. Clarence Carter, 80, never needed schooling in that department, although the blind artist did learn to transcribe arrangements and music charts in Braille. His life story is almost as compelling as his music Carter taught himself to play guitar during his childhood and went on to graduate from Alabama State College in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in music. He made a few forays into the nightclub and recording worlds before coming into his own, teaming with Rick Hall at FAME Studios during the late ❠s and early ❰s. In Muscle Shoals, Carter ruled during his studio sessions, imbuing tunes such as "Slip Away," "Patches," "Too Weak to Fight" and "Snatching it Back" with a blues-meets-country vibe. With stellar singles, Carter earned a firm place in Alabama music history. He's continued to perform and record with earthy authenticity, releasing his latest album, "Dance to the Blues," in 2015.
His life story sounds like a Hollywood movie, with joy and hardship in nearly equal doses. A blind boy from rural Alabama finds his voice in a challenging school, forms a group of like-minded singers, overcomes adversity and brings gospel music to the masses. Clarence Fountain, founding leader of the Blind Boys of Alabama, did all that and more. He was a force to be reckoned with for most of the Blind Boys' history, performing for religious and secular audiences with Alabama-born colleagues such as George Scott, Olice Thomas, Johnny Fields and Jimmy Carter. The Blind Boys, formed in 1939 as the Happy Land Jubilee Singers, harmonized with gusto and kept the faith through good times and bad, recording more than 70 albums with Fountain over seven decades. The group earned new fans in the 1980s by playing a key role in "The Gospel at Colonus," an Obie-winning musical, and experienced a massive career resurgence in 2001 with a blockbuster record, "Spirit of the Century." Fountain stopped touring in the mid-2000s when health problems intervened, but he contributed vocals to a Blind Boys album as recently as 2013. (Fountain, 86, also suffered hardships during this year's flooding in Baton Rouge, prompting the Blind Boys to start a GoFundMe campaign to help him recover.) Several original members of the group have died, but the Blind Boys persevere with newer recruits. Carter, a Birmingham native, assumed leadership of the Blind Boys when Fountain left, and still is going strong.
In a time when soul music and pop standards began to overlap at the hands of Berry Gordy's Motown Records, Martha Reeves and her Vandellas were the blueprint for a black redefinition of the "girl group". No longer was a there "Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy" or "Mr. Sandman" to sing about. Instead, everyone was "Dancing in the Street" during a "Heatwave". Reeves', like the label that gave her fame, was as street-wise and hip as she was elegant and refined. Unfortunately, unlike Diana Ross, who broke away from the Supremes for solo celebrity in the 1970s and 80s, Reeves was not able to transcend her early success in Detroit. Still, we salute her as a pioneer.
Peter Tosh didn’t play the time-slowing wah-wah guitar solo on Bob Marley’s reggae classic “Stir It Up,” Wayne Perkins did. Perkins also played the now iconic solos on other cuts from Bob Marley & The Wailer’s 1973 Island Records debut, including the feedback-laced soaring on “Concrete Jungle” and moonflower slide on “Baby We’ve Got a Date.” Perkins’ Marley connection (he was originally uncredited in the liner notes), and recommendations from Leon Russell and Eric Clapton helped Perkins score an audition for the Rolling Stones after Mick Taylor quit the Stones. Although that gig eventually went to Ron Wood, Perkins’ electrifying, snaky lead lines can be heard on Stones fan faves like “Hand of Fate” and “Worried About You.” Perkins impressive discography also includes work with Joni Mitchell, John Prine, Levon Helm and Albert King. So explain to me why Wayne Perkins isn’t in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame?
Alabama History Timeline
The first inhabitants of the area we now call Alabama have been living here for thousands of years. One location in Alabama has proof that prehistoric Native Americans existed there 10,000 years ago. Today, this location is preserved as the Russell Cave National Monument. The cave provided shelter for these people, while the surrounding forest provided them with food and fuel. The artifacts from the cave indicate that the site was inhabited almost continuously from that time.
Alabama was populated by many Native American groups when Europeans arrived in the 1500s. These Native Americans were mostly unaffected until the French established a permanent settlement in 1699. In the 1700s many more Europeans moved into the area. Eventually these new residents would clash with various Native American groups, many of whom were organized as the Creek Confederacy.
16th Century Alabama History Timeline
1519 - Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda of Spain explores Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Mexico, including Mobile Bay.
1528 - 1536 - Spaniard Panfilo de Narvaez fails in Florida Gulf Coast colonization attempt.
1539 - 1541 - Hernando de Soto explores Southeast, meeting Chief Tuskaloosa (Tascaluza) in Battle of Maubila (October 1540).
1540 - October 18 - The largest Indian battle in North America occurs at the village of Mabila (or Mauvila) between Hernando de Soto's Spaniards and Chief Tuscaloosa's (or Tascaluza's) warriors. Accounts vary, but most agree that the Indian village and most of its more than 2,000 inhabitants were destroyed. The exact location of this battle has eluded researchers for centuries.
1559 -1561 - Don Tristan de Luna fails to establish permanent Spanish colony on Alabama-Florida coast.
17th Century Alabama History Timeline
1600 - Beginning of the rise of the historic tribes of Alabama - Muskogean-speaking Indian groups, remnants of the Mississippian chiefdoms, coalesces into the Creek Confederacy. Similar developments take place among the other heirs to the Mississippian tradition, creating the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Cherokee tribes.
18th Century Alabama History Timeline
1700's - Alabama was first explored by the Spanish.
1702 - January 6 - Le Moyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, establish French fort and settlement at Twenty-seven Mile Bluff settlement and fort moved downriver to Mobile site, 1712.
1717 - Fort Toulouse on the Coosa River constructed to trade with the Indians and offset influence of British farthest eastward penetration of the French.
1720 - French Louisiana capital moved from Mobile west to Biloxi then to New Orleans (1722).
1721 - Africane sails into Mobile harbor with cargo of over 100 slaves.
1724 - French Code Noir extended from French West Indies to North American colonies, institutionalizing slavery in Mobile area.
1780 - Spanish capture Mobile during American Revolution and retain the West and East Floridas as part of war-ending treaty.
- May 5 - US Army Lieutenant John McClary takes possession of Fort St. Stephens from the Spanish and the United States flag is raised for the first time on soil that would eventually belong to Alabama.
- Andrew Ellicott surveys the boundary between the United States and Spanish West Florida and places a stone north of Mobile to mark the 31st latitude.
19th Century Alabama History Timeline
1802 - Georgia formally cedes western claims for its southern boundary at the 31st parallel.
1803 - 1811 - Federal Road conceived and built connecting Milledgeville, Georgia to Fort Stoddert, American outpost north of Mobile.
1805 - 1806 - Indian cessions opened up to white settlement large portions of western (Choctaw) and northern (Chickasaw and Cherokee) Alabama.
1810 - West Florida, from Pearl River to the Mississippi, annexed by US from Spain.
1811 - 1812 - Schools established in Mobile (Washington Academy 1811) and Huntsville (Green Academy 1812).
1811 - 1816 - Newspapers established in Mobile to the south (Sentinel May 11, 1811 Gazette 1812) and Huntsville to the north (Alabama Republican 1816).
1813 -1814 - Creek Indian War
- July 27, 1813 - Battle of Burnt Corn Creek
- August 30, 1813 - Fort Mims Massacre
- December 1813 - Battle of Holy Ground
- April, 1813 - US annexed West Florida, from the Pearl River to the Perdido River, from Spain Spanish surrender Mobile to American forces.
- March 1814 - Battle of Horseshoe Bend
- August 9, 1814 - The Treaty of Fort Jackson is finalized after warring Creeks, under the leadership of William Weatherford, aka Red Eagle, surrender to Gen. Andrew Jackson and cede their lands to the federal government. This event opened up half of the present state of Alabama to white settlement.
- September, 1814 - British attack on Fort Bowyer on Mobile Point fails, prompting them to abandon plans to capture Mobile and turn towards New Orleans.
February, 1815 - British forces take Fort Bowyer on return from defeat at New Orleans, then abandon upon learning that the war is over.
1817 - March 3 - The Alabama Territory is created when Congress passes the enabling act allowing the division of the Mississippi Territory and the admission of Mississippi into the union as a state. Alabama would remain a territory for over two years before becoming the 22nd state in December 1819.
- Janurary 19 - The first legislature of the Alabama Territory convenes at the Douglass Hotel in the territorial capital of St. Stephens. Attendance is sparse with twelve members of the House, representing seven counties, and only one member of the Senate conducting the business of the new territory.
- The Alabama, the area's first steamboat, constructed in St. Stephens.
- Cedar Creek Furnace, the state's first blast furnace and commercial pig-iron producer, established in present-day Franklin County.
- November 21 - Cahaba, located at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers, is designated by the territorial legislature as Alabama's state capital. Huntsville would serve for a short time as the temporary capital. The selection of Cahaba was a victory for the Coosa/Alabama River contingent, which won-out over a Tennessee/Tombigbee Rivers alliance group that wanted to place the capital at Tuscaloosa. The power struggle would continue between the two sections of the state in 1826 the capital was moved to Tuscaloosa, but in 1847 it was moved to the Alabama River at Montgomery.
- March 2 - President Monroe signs the Alabama enabling act.
- July - Constitutional Convention meets in Huntsville. Constitution adopted with Cahaba selected as temporary seat of government for the new State.
- September 20-21 - The first general election for governor, members of the US Congress, legislators, court clerks, and sheriffs is held as specified by the Constitution of 1819. Held on the third Monday and following Tuesday of September, the voters elected William Wyatt Bibb as the state's first governor.
- October 25 - December 17 - General Assembly meets in Huntsville until the Cahaba Capitol is constructed.
- December 14 - Alabama enters Union as 22 nd state.
1822 - December - The Legislature charters Athens Female Academy, which later becomes Athens State University.
1825 - French general and American Revolution-hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, toured Alabama at Governor Israel Pickens' invitation.
1826 -Capitol moved to Tuscaloosa.
- Tuscumbia Railway Company chartered by General Assembly first two miles of track link Tuscumbia and Sheffield (1832).
- January 19 - LaGrange College chartered by the Legislature eventually becomes the University of North Alabama
- State's population=309,527: 1830 Federal Census - White population=190,406 African-American population=119,121 Slave population=117,549 Free black population=1,572 Urban population=3,194 Rural population=306,333.
1831 - April 13 - The University of Alabama formally opens its doors. Fifty-two students were accepted that first day. By the end of the session, the student body had swelled to nearly one hundred. The faculty was made up of four men including the Reverend Alva Woods who had been inaugurated president of the University on April 12, 1831.
- Bell Factory (Madison County), state's first textile mill, chartered by General Assembly.
- Alabama's first railroad, the Tuscumbia Railway, opens, running the two miles from Tuscumbia Landing at the Tennessee River to Tuscumbia. The railway was the first phase of a planned railroad to Decatur, forty-three miles to the east. That railroad was needed in order for river traffic to avoid the dangerous and often un-navigable Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River.
- In a spectacle seen across the Southeast, a fantastic meteor shower causes this night to be known as "the night stars fell on Alabama." The shower created great excitement across the state and for years was used to date events and became part of Alabama folklore. It also became the title of a famous book and song in the 1930s. Jimmy Buffet sang "Stars Fell on Alabama" at the January 1999 inauguration of Governor Don Siegelman.
- Daniel Pratt established cotton gin factory north of Montgomery his company town, Prattville (founded 1839), became a manufacturing center in the antebellum South.
- Alabama gold rush, concentrated in east-central hill country.
- Dr. James Marion Sims, "the Father of Modern Gynecology," established a medical practice in Mt. Meigs, then in nearby Montgomery (1840), before moving on to New York in 1853 to found the renowned Woman's Hospital.
- Second Creek War (Seminole War).
- Battle of Hobdy's Bridge last Indian battle in Alabama (1837).
1840 - State population=590,756: 1840 Federal Census - White population=335,185 African-American population=255,571 Slave population=253,532 Free black population=2,039 Urban population=12,672 Rural population=578,084.
1846 - January 28 - Montgomery is selected as capital of Alabama by the State Legislature on the 16th ballot. Montgomery won the final vote largely because of promises of Montgomery city leaders to provide $75,000 for a new capitol and the rise of the prominence of the Black Belt region of the state.
1850 - State population=771,623: 1850 Federal Census - White population=426,514 African-American population=345,109 Slave population=342,844 Free black population=2,265 Urban population=35,179 Rural population=736,444 Cotton production in bales=564,429 Corn production in bushels=28,754,048 Number of manufacturing establishments=1,026.
1852 -Alabama Insane Hospital established at Tuscaloosa (renamed Alabama Bryce Insane Hospital upon death of its first director, Peter Bryce, 1892).
1854 -Alabama Public School Act creates first state-wide education system by establishing an office of State Superintendent of Education.
- Alabama Coal Mining Company begins first systematic underground mining in the state near Montevallo.
- East Alabama Male College established at Auburn by Methodists evolved into Auburn University.
- State School for Deaf, Dumb, and Blind established at Talledega.
- State population=964,201: 1860 Federal Census - White population=526,271 African-American population=437,770 Slave population=435,080 Free black population=2,690 Urban population=48,901 Rural population=915,300 Cotton production in bales=989,955 Corn production in bushels=33,226,282 Number of manufacturing establishments=1,459.
- January 11 - The Alabama Secession Convention passes an Ordinance of Secession, declaring Alabama a "Sovereign and Independent State." By a vote of 61-39, Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede from the Union.
- February 18 - After being welcomed to Montgomery with great fanfare, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America on the portico of the Alabama capitol. Davis, a former U. S. senator from Mississippi, lived in Montgomery until April, when the Confederate government was moved from Montgomery to its new capital of Richmond, Virginia.
- February - May - Montgomery serves as C.S.A. capital until move to Richmond, Virginia.
- March 11 - The Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, adopts a permanent constitution for the Confederate States of America to replace the provisional constitution adopted the previous month. The seceded states then ratified the essentially conservative document, which was based largely on the United States Constitution.
1861 - 1865 - 194 military land events and 8 naval engagements occurred within the boundaries of Alabama including -
- Streight's Raid in north Alabama (April-May 1863)
- Rousseau's Raid through north and east-central Alabama (July 1864)
- Wilson's Raid through north and central Alabama (March-April 1865)
- Battle of Mobile Bay (August 1864) and the subsequent campaign which involved action at Spanish Fort (April 8, 1865) and Blakeley (April 9, 1865) before the fall of the city of Mobile (April 12, 1865).
- May 4 1865 -General Richard Taylor surrenders last sizable Confederate force at Citronelle, Mobile County
- September 12 -1865 - New Alabama Constitution adopted to comply with Presidential Reconstruction dictates to rejoin Union rejected by US Congress.
- December 6 -1865 -The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution is ratified, thus officially abolishing slavery.
1866 - Lincoln Normal School founded as private institution for African-Americans at Marion relocated to Montgomery (1887) and evolved into Alabama State University.
1868 - Reconstruction Constitution ratified (February) gaining Alabama readmission to the Union, and allowing black suffrage for the first time.
1870 - State population=996,992: 1870 Federal Census - White population=521,384: African-American population=475,510 Urban population=62,700 Rural population=934,292 Cotton production in bales=429,482 Corn production in bushels=16,977,948 Number of manufacturing establishments=2,188.
1871 - Birmingham founded evolves into center of Southern iron and steel industry.
1873 - Huntsville Normal and Industrial School chartered evolves into Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University.
1874 - State elections return conservative Democrat "Bourbon Redeemers" to political power.
1875 - November 16 - Alabama's Constitution of 1875 is ratified. The Bourbon Democrats, or "Redeemers," having claimed to "redeem" the Alabama people from the Reconstruction rule of carpetbaggers and scalawags, wrote a new constitution to replace the one of 1868. It was a conservative document that gave the Democrats, and especially Black Belt planters, a firm grip on their recently reacquired control of state government.
1880 - State population= 1,262,505: 1880 Federal Census - White population= 662,185 African-American population= 600,103 Urban population= 68,518 Rural population= 1,193,987 Cotton production on bales= 699,654 Corn production in bushels= 25,451,278 Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,070.
1881 - February 10 - The Alabama Legislature establishes Tuskegee Institute as a "normal school for the education of colored teachers." The law stipulated that no tuition would be charged and graduates must agree to teach for two years in Alabama schools. Booker T. Washington was chosen as the first superintendent and arrived in Alabama in June 1881. Washington's leadership would make Tuskegee one of the most famous and celebrated historic black colleges in the US
1887 -1896 - Farmers' Alliance grew out of earlier Grange (1870s) and Agricultural Wheel (early 1880s) organizations evolved into the Populist movement which challenged conservative Democrats for control of state politics.
1890 - State population= 1,513,401: 1890 Federal Census - White population= 833,718 African-American population= 678,489 Urban population= 152,235 Rural population= 1,361,166 Cotton production in bales= 915,210 Corn production in bushels= 30,072,161 Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,977.
1895 - February 16 - Alabama formally adopts a state flag for the first time. The legislature dictated "a crimson cross of St. Andrew upon a field of white," which was the design submitted by John W. A. Sanford, Jr., who also sponsored the bill. This flag remains Alabama's flag today.
1896 - October 12 - The Alabama Girls' Industrial School opens its doors as the first state-supported industrial and technical school devoted to training girls to make a living. The school later became known as Alabama College, and is now the University of Montevallo.
20th Century Alabama History Timeline
1900 - State population= 1,828,697: 1900 Federal Census - White population= 1,001,152 African-American population= 827,307 Urban population= 216,714
Rural population= 1,611,983 Cotton production in bales= 1,106,840 Corn production in bushels= 35,053,047 Number of manufacturing establishments= 5,602.
- January 31 - Tallulah Bankhead, star of stage, screen, and radio in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, is born in Huntsville. The daughter of US Congressman William B. Bankhead, Tallulah was most famous for her flamboyant lifestyle, throaty voice, and stage role in The Little Foxes (1939) and her part in the film Lifeboat (1943). (There is some question of the exact birth date this is the most generally accepted).
- March 2 - Trustees of the Alabama Department of Archives and History meet in Gov. William J. Samford's office to organize the nation's first state archival agency. Charged with, among other responsibilities, "the care and custody of official archives [and] the collection of materials bearing upon the history of the State," the department was housed in the capitol until 1940. In that year it moved across Washington Avenue to the War Memorial Building, which had been constructed for the Archives.
- New state Constitution ratified, disfranchising substantial numbers of black and white voters (November).
1902 - November 29 - The New York Medical Record publishes an account of Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performing the first open heart surgery in the western hemisphere when he sutured a knife wound in a young boy's heart. Dr. Hill was the father of Alabama politician and US senator Lister Hill.
1904 - Colonel William Crawford Gorgas of Alabama begins elimination of scourges of yellow fever and malaria in Panama Canal Zone.
1907 - Tennessee Coal and Iron Company in Birmingham purchased by US Steel.
- Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, establish "flying school" on land outside Montgomery (present site of Maxwell Air Force Base) six years after their first flights.
- Boll Weevil, insect destroyer of cotton, enters state from Mississippi border.
1910 - State population= 2,138,093: 1910 Federal Census - White population= 1,228,832 African-American population= 908,282 Urban population= 370,431 Rural population= 1,767,662 Cotton production in bales= 1,129,527 Corn production in bushels= 30,695,737 Number of manufacturing establishments= 3,398.
1919 - December 11 - The boll weevil monument is dedicated in Enterprise. The monument honors the insect that killed cotton plants and forced local farmers to diversify by planting more profitable crops such as peanuts. Even though the monument was in appreciation of the boll weevil, the weevil statue was not added to the monument until 30 years later.
1920 - State population= 2,348,174: 1920 Federal Census - White population= 1,447,031 African-American population= 900,652 Urban population= 509,317 Rural population= 1,838,857 Cotton production in bales= 718,163 Corn production in bushels= 43,699,100 Number of manufacturing establishments= 3,654.
1928 - Convict lease system ended.
1930 - State population= 2,646,248: 1930 Federal Census - White population= 1,700,844 African-American population= 944,834 Urban population= 744,273 Rural population= 1,901,975 Cotton production in bales= 1,312,963 Corn production in bushels= 35,683,874 Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,848.
- March 25 - Nine black youths, soon to be known as the Scottsboro Boys, are arrested in Paint Rock and jailed in Scottsboro, the Jackson County seat. Charged with raping two white women on a freight train from Chattanooga, the sheriff had to protect them from mob violence that night. Within a month, eight of the nine were sentenced to death. Based on questionable evidence, the convictions by an all-white jury generated international outrage.
1936 - August 3 - Lawrence County native Jesse Owens wins his first gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany. Owens went on to win four gold medals in Berlin, but German leader Adolf Hitler snubbed the star athlete because he was black. Today visitors can learn more about Owens at the Jesse Owens Memorial Park and Museum in Oakville, Alabama.
William B. Bankhead elected Speaker, US House of Representatives.
1937 - State sales tax instituted to help fund education.
Alabama Senator Hugo Black appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to the US Supreme Court.
1940 - State population= 2,832,961: 1940 Federal Census - White population= 1,849,097 African-American population= 983,290 Urban population= 855,941 Rural population= 1,977,020 Cotton production in bales= 772,711 Corn production in bushels= 31,028,109 Number of manufacturing establishments= 2,052.
1941 - Training of African-American military pilots, the "Tuskegee Airmen," underway.
1944 - First Oil Well In Alabama: On January 2, 1944, the State of Alabama granted Hunt Oil Company a permit to drill the A.R. Jackson Well No. 1 near Gilbertown, Choctaw County.
1945 - University of Alabama Medical School moved from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham.
1947 - Georgiana's Hank Williams signs recording contract with MGM and becomes regular on The Louisiana Hayride radio program.
- July 17 - The Dixiecrat Convention assembles in Birmingham, with over 6,000 delegates from across the South in attendance. They selected Strom Thurmond as their candidate for President for their States' Rights Party. In the 1948 presidential election the Dixiecrats carried four states, including Alabama, where Democratic candidate Harry Truman's name did not even appear on the ballot.
1950 - State population= 3,061,743: 1950 Federal Census - White population= 2,079,591 African-American population= 979,617 Urban population= 1,228,209 Rural population= 1,833,534 Cotton production in bales= 824,290 Corn production in bushels= 40,972,309 Number of manufacturing establishments (1954)= 3,893.
1954 - Democratic nominee for state Attorney General, Albert Patterson, murdered in Phenix City, prompting clean-up of the "wickedest city in America."
- December 1 - Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, is arrested for refusing to give up her seat for a boarding white passenger as required by Montgomery city ordinance. Her action prompted the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott and earned her a place in history as "the mother of the modern day civil rights movement. "Ms. Parks was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor in August 2000.
- Army Ballistic Missile Agency established at Huntsville's Redstone Arsenal.
- Autherine Lucy unsuccessfully attempts to desegregate the University of Alabama.
- December 21 - The Supreme Court ruling banning segregated seating on Montgomery's public transit vehicles goes into effect. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were among the first people to ride a fully integrated bus, ending the historic year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- September 8 - The George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville is dedicated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Gov. John Patterson and Werner von Braun, director of the space flight center, were in attendance as was Mrs. Marshall who unveiled a bust in honor of her husband.
- State population= 3,266,740: 1960 Federal Census - White population= 2,283,609 African-American population= 980,271 Urban population= 1,689,417 Rural population= 1,577,323 Cotton production in bales= 683,491 Corn production in bushels= 62,580,000 Number of manufacturing establishments (1963)= 4,079.
- May 1 - Harper Lee of Monroeville wins the Pulitzer Prize for To Kill A Mockingbird, her first, and only, novel. The gripping tale set in 1930s Alabama became an international bestseller and was made into a major Hollywood motion picture starring Gregory Peck.
- May 20 - The Freedom Riders arrive at the Greyhound bus terminal in Montgomery where they are attacked by an angry mob. The Freedom Ride, an integrated bus trip from Washington D.C., through the Deep South, was formed to test the 1960 Supreme Court decision prohibiting segregation in bus and train terminal facilities. Before reaching Montgomery, they had already suffered violent reprisals in Anniston and Birmingham. The Freedom Ride eventually resulted in a campaign that caused the Interstate Commerce Commission to rule against segregated facilities in interstate travel.
- Governor George C. Wallace inaugurated for first of four terms in office.
- Birmingham bombings of Civil Rights-related targets, including the offices of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the home of A.D. King (brother of Martin Luther King, Jr.), and the 16th Street Baptist Church (in which 4 children were killed), focus national attention on racial violence in the state.
- Governor Wallace's "stand in the schoolhouse door" at the University of Alabama protests federally forced racial integration Vivian Malone and James Hood register for classes as first African-American students.
- University of South Alabama founded in Mobile.
- February 15 - "The man with the velvet voice," Nat King Cole dies in Santa Monica, California. Born the son of a Baptist minister in Montgomery in 1919, Cole sold over 50 million records and became the first African-American male with a weekly network television series.
- March 7 - Six-hundred demonstrators make the first of three attempts to march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery to demand removal of voting restrictions on black Americans. Attacked by state and local law enforcement officers as they crossed Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, the marchers fled back into the city. The dramatic scene was captured on camera and broadcast across the nation later that Sunday, causing a surge of support for the protestors.
- March 21 - Rev. Martin Luther King leads 3,200 marchers from Selma toward Montgomery in support of civil rights for black Americans, after two earlier marches had ended at the Edmund Pettus Bridge - the first in violence and the second in prayer. Four days later, outside the Alabama state capitol, King told 25,000 demonstrators that "we are on the move now . . . and no wave of racism can stop us." On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.
1967 - Lurleen Wallace inaugurated as state's first woman governor (died 1968).
1969 - University of Alabama at Huntsville established. University of Alabama at Birmingham established, joining University's medical and dental schools there since the 1940s.
1970 - State population= 3,444,165: 1970 Federal Census - White population= 2,533,831 African-American population= 903,467 Urban population= 2,011,941 Rural population= 1,432,224 Cotton production in bales= 507,000 Corn production in bushels= 12,535,000.
1972 - May 15 - Gov. George C. Wallace is shot in Maryland while campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president. The assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer left the Governor paralyzed from the waist down and effectively ended his chances at the nomination. He campaigned again for president in 1976, marking his fourth consecutive run for that office.
1980 - State population=3,894,000: 1980 Federal Census - White population=2,783,000 African-American population=996,000 Urban population=2,338,000 Rural population=1,556,000 Cotton production in bales=275,000 Corn production in bushels=15,000,000.
1981 - Country music group Alabama selected "Vocal Group of the Year" by Academy of Country Music went on to garner fifth consecutive "Entertainer of the Year" award from the Country Music Association (1986).
1985 - Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway opens.
1990 - State population=4,040,587: 1990 Federal Census - White population=2,975,837 African-American population=1,020,677 Urban population=2,439,549 Rural population=1,601,038 Cotton production in bales=375,000 Corn production in bushels=13,920,000.
1993 - Governor Guy Hunt, in second term as first Republican governor of the state since Reconstruction, convicted of misuse of public funds and removed from office.
1995 - Alabama's Heather Whitestone serves as first Miss America with a disability.
1998 - Anniston native Dr. David Satcher is appointed Surgeon General of the United States.
21st Century Alabama History Timeline
- State population=4,447,100: 2000 Federal Census - White population = 3,188,102 African-American population = 1,138,726 Hispanic population=45,349
2000 - Etowah County Circuit Judge Roy Moore is elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore rose to national attention earlier when he was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom.
- Birmingham native Condoleeza Rice is appointed National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. She is the first woman to occupy that position.
- 2001 (November) Winfield native and CIA operative Michael Spann dies in prison uprising in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan, becoming the first US casualty in the war in Afghanistan.
- Birmingham native Vonetta Flowers and teammate Jill Bakken win a gold medal in bobsledding at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Flowers is the first African American to win a gold medal in a winter Olympics.
- May 22 - Bobby Frank Cherry is convicted of murder for his part in the bombing of Birmingham's Sixteenth St. Baptist Church. Cherry is the last living suspect to be prosecuted for the Sept. 15, 1963, blast that killed 11-year-old Denise McNair, and 14-year-olds Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins
2004 - Condoleezza Rice appointed US Secretary of State by President George W. Bush
Derrick Henry run for 50 yds for a TD (Adam Griffith KICK) (1:20)
Deshaun Watson connects with Hunter Renfrow on a 31-yard touchdown pass to even the score at 7 with Alabama. (0:50)
Deshaun Watson finds a diving Hunter Renfrow for another touchdown pass to give Clemson the 14-7 lead. (0:29)
Derrick Henry gets the handoff and dives over the Clemson defense for the tying score. (0:46)
O.J. Howard picks a good time for his first touchdown of the season as he catches the pass from Jake Coker and goes 53 yards to put Alabama up 21-14. (1:50)
Greg Huegel 37 yd FG GOOD (0:13)
Wayne Gallman gets the ball and smashes through for the short touchdown run to put Clemson up 24-21. (1:08)
Adam Griffith 33 yd FG GOOD (0:20)
Jake Coker goes deep to O.J. Howard, who makes the most of the opportunity with a 51-yard touchdown catch. (1:21)
Greg Huegel 31 yd FG GOOD (0:23)
Alabama's Kenyan Drake reacts to Clemson's field goal by running the kickoff back 95 yards for the touchdown. (1:29)
Deshaun Watson finds Artavis Scott for the 15-yard touchdown. A failed two-point conversion leaves the score at 38-33 in favor of Alabama. (0:30)
Derrick Henry appears to get stuffed at the line by the Clemson defense, but the Alabama running back perseveres and gets the ball into the end zone, giving the Crimson Tide a 45-33 lead. (2:01)
Alabama, by John Coltrane
On the afternoon of November 18, 1963 John Coltrane went into Rudy Van Gelder’s Studio in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and recorded the tune Alabama. He did not tell anyone in the studio, including the members of his legendary quartet McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison, what the tune is about. The band played five takes of the moving piece of music, of which the last one found its way into Coltrane’s record Live at Birdland on the Impulse Label. Coltrane kept his thoughts and feelings to himself, but it was clear that he was playing a eulogy for the victims of the bombing that took place in Birmingham, Alabama two months prior. The sorrowful melody captures the sadness not only over that tragic event, but the whole human injustice that sparked the civil rights movement.
On December 7, 1964 Coltrane’s quartet played Alabama on Ralph J. Gleason’s public television series, Jazz Casual:
Martin Luther King addressed a crowd of mourners at the funeral service for Addie Mae Collins, Carol Denise McNair, and Cynthia Diane Wesley in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 18. A separate service was held for the fourth victim, Carole Robertson. He delivered a moving speech, a Eulogy for the Martyred Children. Coltrane may have had Martin Luther King’s eulogy in mind when performing the piece. Both Coltrane’s music and King’s words are passionate and mournful, and lack bitterness and hatred. Similar to King’s speech where he transforms from mourning into determination for the struggle against racism, there is a point in the tune where Elvin Jones switches from a very quite accompaniment into a crescendo of toms and cymbals played with mallets.
The spiritual quest of Martin Luther King and John Coltrane has led to mutual respect between the two leaders of their respective fields. While Coltrane was not known to express political views, his music and search of a higher spiritual place served the civil rights movement well. He played with the quartet in a number of benefit events for various causes related to civil rights, such as a benefit for the civil rights periodical Freedomways on December 27, 1964. In an interview in 1966, Coltrane told Frank Kofsky: “Music is an expression of higher ideals … brotherhood is there and I believe with brotherhood, there would be no poverty … there would be no war … I know that there are bad forces, forces put here that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be a force which is truly for good.”
Martin Luther King appreciated Jazz as the heritage of black people’s music. In September 1964, as the guest of Mayor Willy Brandt, King spent two days in West Berlin and gave a speech at the Berlin Jazz Festival in which he said: “Jazz speaks for life. The Blues tell the story of life’s difficulties, and if you think for a moment, you will realize that they take the hardest realities of life and put them into music, only to come out with some new hope or sense of triumph. This is triumphant music. Modern Jazz has continued in this tradition, singing the songs of a more complicated urban existence. When life itself offers no order and meaning, the musician creates an order and meaning from the sounds of the earth which flow through his instrument. It is no wonder that so much of the search for identity among american Negroes was championed by Jazz musicians. Long before the modern essayists and scholars wrote of “racial identity” as a problem for a multi-racial world, musicians were returning to their roots to affirm that which was stirring within their souls.”
Here is the original recording of the tune from the session on November 18 1963, released on Coltrane Live at Birdland:
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also like another about the intersecting history of jazz and the civil rights movement:
The most unusual historic structure in each Alabama county
If you're wondering, this is not another one of those lists, the ones naming the same old (literally) historic homes you've seen listed a million times. The title says "unusual structure," so I included towers, tombs, mills, jails, businesses, a watercraft and, yes, a few houses. The point is to learn a little more about our fun state. Do you have a favorite historic structure in your county? Email [email protected] and let me know.
(Source: HotelTwo via Waymarking.com)
Autauga County Courthouse (former) and service station
OK, so we’re starting with a historic courthouse but this former judicial building has something like no others in Alabama – an attached service station. The building at 147 South Court Street in Prattville was built ca. 1870. Several original features are intact on the upper floor. The service station was added in 1924.
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
Baldwin: Hermit Hut at Tolstoy Park
This small domed concrete building was the inspiration for Sonny Brewer's book, "The Poet of Tolstoy Park." It was built near Fairhope in 1925 by Henry Stuart, an Idaho man who moved South to live out his life when he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. He ended up living another 18 years. Click here to read more.
(Source: Rivers Langley via Wikimedia Commons)
Barbour: The Octagonal House
At one time, Alabama had two antebellum octagonal homes, until the one in Athens was demolished. The Petty-Roberts-Beatty House, also known as the Octagon House, was built from 1859-1861 in Clayton by Benjamin Franklin Petty. Click here to read more.
(Source: AL.com File Photo)
Bibb: Brierfield Ironworks Furnace
The ruins of a Civil War-era furnace are now an attraction at Brierfield Ironworks Historical Park. The furnace at Brierfield was built in 1861 by private owners to create cast iron but was sold to the Confederate government in 1863, when it became the Brierfield Naval Works. A cover was added to the site in 2004 to protect the ruins from further deterioration.
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
Blount: Old Brooksville Post Office
After spotlighting Blount County's lovely historic covered bridges dozens of times, I'm changing it up with a look at the preserved buildings at Blountsville Historical Park. The tiny Brooksville Post Office shown here was built in 1836. The remainder of the historic buildings placed alongside Main Street create a tiny village, complete with a few log cabins, a period barn, jail, chapel, and even a cemetery. Inside the old Freeman Cabin, visitors can see exhibits with the history of the area. Click here to read more.
Bullock: Old Pauly Jail
This preserved jail in Union Springs was built in 1897 and is unique because it is three stories high and still has a trap door in the floor used for hanging the condemned. In 2004, scenes for the movie "Heaven's Fall" were filmed in the jail. Click here to read more.
(Source: Chris Pruitt via Wikimedia Commons)
The preserved Art Deco Ritz Theatre built in 1935 has been restored as a venue for local productions. Click here to read more.
(Source: Chris Pruitt via Wikimedia Commons)
Calhoun: Anniston Inn Kitchen
Anniston and Calhoun County are chock full of amazing historical buildings – including the Peerless Saloon, the Wikle Rexall and a Magnolia model Sears kit house – but how often do you find a preserved 2.5-story, Queen Anne-style kitchen built in 1885? The old Anniston Inn's kitchen building, which also house a children's dining room and servant's quarters, survived a fire on Jan. 2, 1923. It is now an event venue.
(Source: City of Valley)
Chambers: Shawmut school for tiny students
This county is home to the very cool Horace King Bridge and other historical attractions, but the 1908 Shawmut Kindergarten made this list because, according to the City of Valley, it was "constructed on a scale suitable for use by pre-school children" and is the only one of its kind remaining in Alabama. The school with its unusually small proportions was restored by Valley' Preservation Commission.
(Source: Thomson200 via Wikimedia Commons)
Cherokee: Cornwall Furnace
Commissioned in 1862 by the Confederate government, Cornwall Furnace was built by the Noble Brothers Foundry near Cedar Bluff. Click here for information.
(Source: Spyder_Monkey via Wikimedia Commons)
Chilton: Gragg-Wade Field Hangars
Gragg-Wade Field in Clanton was established in 1937 as part of Works Progress Administration. It is also home to a hangar once used to house the planes of the Tuskegee Airmen. It was moved to the Chilton County site in 1948.
Choctaw: Carlisle General Merchandise Store
Preserved in Gilbertown’s Town Park are several historic buildings, along with the Choctaw County Historical Museum that preserves the area’s history. One of the buildings on the grounds is the Frank Carlisle General Merchandise Store, which features displays typical of the early 1900s.
(Contributed by Wil Elrick)
Clarke: Airmount Grave Shelter
Building shelters over graves is an ongoing tradition meant to protect the graves of loved ones from effects of weather. Click here to read more about grave shelters in Alabama.
One of the oldest in Alabama dates to 1853 when it was built by John Hope in Airmount Cemetery near Thomasville. It is also one of the more elaborate – constructed of brick with a vaulted wooden ceiling inside – and protects six graves, an unusually high number. The burials beneath it were from 1850 to 1885.
Clay: Lineville water tower
This unusual tower was constructed in 1917. Click here to see more historic Alabama water towers.
Cleburne: Mt. Cheaha observation tower
This stone bunker-tower was built in 1934 in a Cleburne County portion of Mt. Cheaha State Park. The observation tower has been restored to allow visitors to see the view from Alabama’s highest point.
(Source: ATLBraves2346 via Wikimedia Commons)
The unassuming tomb of Grancer Harrison has been the subject of legends for decades. It was featured in Kathryn Tucker Windham's "13 Alabama ghosts and Jeffery," who said the site is haunted by the ghost of "Grancer the Dancer." Harrison, who died in 1860, reportedly requested to be buried in his dancing clothes, lying on a feather bed. The grave is located in Harrison Cemetery near Kinston. Click here for more.
(Contributed by Oliver Chamberlain/The Cultural Landscape Foundation)
This unique community of 85 bungalows -- along with barracks, school and parks -- was built as government defense housing in 1918, according to Colbert County Tourism. "The streets were laid out in an unusual Liberty Bell design. The houses feature red tile roofs and stucco exteriors. This is an example of an early 20th century planned community and an excellent example of early prefabrication and standardization in housing construction." The neighborhood is still used for residential housing.
(Source: Laurie O'Meara via Facebook)
Conecuh: Old Carter Hospital
Carter Hospital on Burnt Corn Street in Repton was built in 1935. It was the area’s only medical clinic and was run by Dr. W.R. Carter. It closed in the 1950s when community hospitals were built. According to legend, Carter removed famed author Harper Lee’s appendix in one of his operating rooms.
(Source: Rivers Langley via Wikimedia Commons)
Coosa County: Old Rock Jail
The Old Rock Jail, built in 1825 on Linn Street in Rockford, is a museum and is open for tours by appointment or on certain occasions, according to toureastalabama.com.
(Source: Three-Notch Museum Facebook page)
Covington: H.B. Little Store
This little store was moved from Brooklyn Road in Andalusia to the Three-Notch Museum, which includes a museum in a historic depot and other pioneer buildings. Inside, the store features displays of items from the time period.
(Source: Rivers Langley via Wikimedia Commons)
Crenshaw: Petrey Community Building
This tiny building on Petrey Highway is one of the last remaining buildings of a small business district in the Crenshaw County town of Petrey, population 58. Today, Petrey is considered part of Luverne.
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Depot was built in 1913 in downtown Cullman. It is more decorative than most L&N depots of the period. It was built in the Mission Revival-style and served as a passenger depot until 1968. It was restored and is now used as offices for the United Way.
(Source: Driver8 via Waymarking.com)
This stadium, built in Ozark in 1946, was the home of the Ozark Eagles, a team in the Alabama-Florida Baseball League from 1946 to 1952.
Dallas: Bridgetender's Cottage
The Bridgetender’s Cottage on Water Avenue sits on the edge of a bluff above the Alabama River where Selma’s first bridge was located. Completed in 1885, the bridge had a span to be raised to allow river traffic to pass, making a bridgetender necessary. The bridgetender and his family lived in the tiny house, built from 1883-1884. In 1940, the bridge was replaced with the Edmund Pettus Bridge and was later demolished but the house still stands.
(Source: Mary Seivert via Wikimedia Commons)
The W. B. Davis Hosiery Mill, built in 1884, is a preserved industrial complex in Fort Payne. The three-story main building features Colonial Revival details.
(Source: xptwo via Waymarking.com)
The Calaboose, a jail in Wetumpka, was built ca.-1820. It was used until the mid- 1830s.
(Source: Hummerstation via Waymarking.com)
Escambia: Bank of Brewton
The Bank of Brewton opened in 1899 and, in 1912, moved into this building decorated in white marble tiles with green detailing. It is still located on W. Saint Joseph Street in downtown Brewton.
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
Etowah: Pitman Theatre
The Pitman Theatre in Gadsden was built in 1947, the first in the area with air conditioning. Today it is is a multi-purpose venue.
(Source: City of Fayette)
Fayette: First National Bank Building
The Fayette County Bank was built in 1911 in the Neo-Classical style, clad in limestone with Tuscan columns. The bank on Temple Street in downtown Fayette later became First National Bank, which still operates today.
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
Franklin: Roxy Theatre
The old Roxy Theater in downtown Russellville, a movie palace opened in 1949, was neglected for many years before being restored so it can once again show films and host concerts.
(Contributed by Waymarking.com/Looking Lawana)
Built in 1932 on the Covington-Geneva county line, Fink’s Grist Mill is still operational. The mill is open on Saturdays during corn harvest season. Call Dolly at (334) 504-1778 to set up a milling time.
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
Greene: Sheriff's Office and Grand Jury Room
The Old Sheriff’s Office and Grand Jury Room is located in downtown Eutaw on the Greene County Courthouse lawn. It was completed in 1842.
A special house in Greensboro was preserved as a museum. RuralSWALabama.org says: "On the night of March 21, 1968, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sought refuge from the Ku Klux Klan inside a small, shotgun-style home in the depot neighborhood of Greensboro, AL. (This occurred just two weeks prior to the assassination of Rev. King in Memphis, TN.) Mrs. Theresa Burroughs, a close friend of the King family and an active participant of the Civil Rights Movement, turned this small shotgun house into the Safe House Black History Museum which documents the local struggle for equality."
(Source: Hummerstation via Waymarking.com)
Henry: Standard Oil Filling Station
The City of Abbeville is the first in the nation, alphabetically, by city and state in the Rand McNally Road Atlas. It’s also home to “Yella Fella,” the TV commercial character portrayed by Jimmy Rane, owner of Great Southern Wood Preserving Inc. Rane and other business leaders worked to revitalize downtown Abbeville, including opening the restaurant Huggin’ Molly’s and installing vintage neon signs on buildings. Rane then restored an old Standard Oil Filling Station to use as office space for his company.
(Source: Michael Rivera via Wikimedia Commons)
Houston: Dothan Opera House
The Dothan Opera House was completed in 1915 as an 800-seat auditorium. It was designed by the architectural firm Morris & Morris of Atlanta in a blend of Classical Revial and Italianate styles.
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
Jackson: Skyline Farms Store
Skyline Farms was a farming settlement in Jackson County created by the federal government as part of the New Deal. It was one of eight industrial and agriculture settlements in Alabama. Skyline Farms was initially called Cumberland Mountains Farms, a name etched on the sign of the original rock store. It now houses a museum. Click here to read about government towns in Alabama.
Jefferson: Dirigible mooring mast
The historic 20-story Thomas Jefferson Hotel in downtown Birmingham will soon reopen as luxury condominiums, complete with a restaurant and event space in the old ballroom. The $30-million makeover of the 1929 building will leave at least one thing unchanged: a historic mooring mast built to dock airships, or dirigibles, on its roof. Some online sites claim it is the last surviving mooring mast, but at least two others exist in altered forms in the U.S. There's no indication the dock was ever used and dirigibles quickly went out of fashion.
(Source: Strange Alabama)
Lamar: 1888 Ogden House
The Encyclopedia of Alabama says, “The Ogden House, built in 1888, was one of the first homes in Sulligent, Lamar County. The house is named William and Tallulah Henson Ogden. William Ogden was mayor of Sulligent from 1919-1921 and state representative from 1931-1934.”
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
Lauderdale: (tie) Oldest Water Tower and Rosenbaum House
The Rosenbaum House is Alabama’s only home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was built in 1940 for Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum in Florence as part of Wright’s Usonian house concept. It is now a museum.
Some sources claim the water tower in Florence, built in 1888, is the oldest in the state.
(Source: National Park Service)
Lawrence: Boxwood slave quarters
The National Park Service says this is "one of the very few extant slave quarters remaining in Alabama. It is also a rare surviving example in Alabama of raised plate construction which is an architectural vestige of the Chesapeake area. Boxwood's period of significance extends from c. 1854, its construction date, to 1865."
(Source: Auburn University)
Lee: Halliday-Cary-Pick House and its spiral staircase
The Halliday-Cary-Pick House, one of Auburn’s oldest homes, was built in the 1840s. The Greek Revival-style raised cottage has an architectural wonder inside. Auburn University says: “Constructed by hand of mahogany, the staircase has no visible means of support it has no center post and does not rest on any wall. It was built, when the house was under construction, by an itinerant French carpenter who was on his way to New Orleans. Architects have marveled at the design of the 360-degree turn of the staircase which rests on its own pedestal base.”
(By the way, Auburn is home to a second grave of a man said to be buried in his feather bed. Click here to read about it.)
(Source: Town of Mooresville)
Limestone: State's oldest post office
The Mooresville Post Office, built circa-1840 of saw-milled lumber, is still in operation, making it the oldest continually operating postal service in Alabama.
Kelly Kazek | [email protected]
Lowndes: Robinson Switch
Tucked beneath kudzu and a layer of red dust, several buildings line a narrow road across from St. Clair Bait & Tackle, at the intersection of Lowndes County 28 and 40. Running alongside a railroad track, the tiny burg of Robinson Switch was once a gathering place for local farmers. Today, a variety of buildings – including stables, sheds, railroad warehouses and stores – are slowly collapsing.
Click here to see photos of Robinson Switch.
(Source: skegeepedia via Wikimedia Commons)
Tuskegee University's historic Cleveland Leigh Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium, completed in 1924, was the first staidum built at a black college or university in the south.
Until 1982, Alabama claimed only one national championship prior to the tenure of Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. After his retirement, Alabama sports information director Wayne Atcheson added four claimed championships to the team's official program notes.
The NCAA does not itself recognize official national champions, but does provide a partial listing of various organizations' selections of a champion, often noting several teams in the same year. In addition to the 15 claimed by the Alabama program, the Official NCAA Football Records Book has cited 5 additional championship years for which a case could be made for Alabama to hold the title: 1945, 1962, 1966, 1975 and 1977. The NCAA recognizes only 13 times since 1900, however, that Alabama was a "national poll champion" going into their bowl game.
Supreme Court Orders, Annuity & Mortality Tables
In accordance with Alabama Code 35-16-1, 35-16-3 and 12-2-19, the Secretary of State is required to publish annuity tables, mortality tables, and Supreme Court orders in bound volumes of the acts of the legislature. Pursuant to Act 2019-414, in lieu of binding and distributing copies of each volume of the acts and resolutions, and in an effort to save the state money, the acts, resolutions, annuity tables, mortality tables, and Supreme Court orders are available in electronic form.
You may view Annuity Tables beginning in 2018
You may view Mortality Tables beginning in 2018
You may view Supreme Court Orders on the Alabama Judicial System's Website
Should you encounter problems or have questions about using this facility, please e-mail the Webmaster.