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State of Alabama
Flag of Alabama State seal of Alabama
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): Yellowhammer State; Heart of Dixie; Cotton State
Motto(s): Audemus jura nostra defendere (Latin)
Official language(s) English
Spoken language(s) English (96.17%)
Spanish (2.12%)
Demonym Alabamian
Capital Montgomery
Largest city Birmingham
229,800 (2007 estimate)[1]
Largest metro area Greater Birmingham Area
Area  Ranked 30th in the US
 - Total 52,419 sq mi
(135,765 km2)
 - 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
Population  Ranked 23rd in the US
 - Total 4,779,736[citation needed]
Density 84.83/sq mi  (33.84/km2)
Ranked 27th in the US
Elevation  
 - Highest point Mount Cheaha[2]
2,413 ft  (734 m)
 - Mean 499 ft  (152 m)
 - Lowest point Gulf of Mexico[2]
0 ft  (0 m)
Admission to Union  December 14, 1819 (22nd)
Governor Robert J. Bentley (R)
Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey (R)
Legislature Alabama Legislature
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R)
Jeff Sessions (R)
U.S. House delegation 6 Republicans, 1 Democrat (list)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/DST-5
Abbreviations AL Ala. US-AL
Website http://www.alabama.gov
Alabama State Symbols
The Flag of Alabama.

Animate insignia
Amphibian Red Hills salamander
Bird(s) Yellowhammer, Wild Turkey
Butterfly Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Fish Largemouth bass, Fighting tarpon
Flower(s) Camellia, Oak-leaf Hydrangea
Insect Monarch Butterfly
Mammal(s) American Black Bear, Racking horse
Reptile Alabama red-bellied turtle
Tree Longleaf Pine

Inanimate insignia
Beverage Conecuh Ridge Whiskey
Colors Red, White
Dance Square Dance
Food Pecan, Blackberry, Peach
Fossil Basilosaurus
Gemstone Star Blue Quartz
Mineral Hematite
Rock Marble
Shell Johnstone's Junonia
Slogan(s) Share The Wonder,
Alabama the beautiful,
Where America finds its voice,
Sweet Home Alabama
Soil Bama
Song(s) Alabama (song)

Route marker(s)
Alabama Route Marker

State Quarter
Quarter of Alabama
Released in 2003

Lists of United States state insignia

Alabama (Template:IPAc-en) is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States of America. 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 ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland waterways. The state ranks 23rd in population with 4.7 million residents in 2009.[3]

From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many Southern states, suffered economic hardship, in part because of continued dependence on agriculture. Despite the growth of major industries and urban centers, white rural interests dominated the state legislature until the 1960s, while urban interests and African Americans were under-represented.[4] Following World War II, Alabama experienced growth as the economy of the state transitioned from agriculture to diversified interests in heavy manufacturing, mineral extraction, education, and technology. In addition, the establishment or expansion of multiple military installations, primarily those of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, added to state jobs.

Alabama is unofficially nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the state bird. Alabama is also known as the "Heart of Dixie". The state tree is the Longleaf Pine, the state flower is the Camellia. The capital of Alabama is Montgomery. The largest city by population is Birmingham. The largest city by total land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists.

EtymologyEdit

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 Alabama River,[5] served as the etymological source of the names of the river and state. In the Alabama language, the word for an Alabama person is Albaamo (or variously Albaama or Albàamo in different dialects; the plural form "Alabama persons" is Albaamaha).[6] The word Alabama is believed to have originated from the Choctaw language[7] and was later adopted by the Alabama tribe as their name.[8] The spelling of the word varies significantly between sources.[8] The first usage appears in three accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540 with Garcilasso de la Vega using Alibamo, while the Knight of Elvas and Rodrigo Ranjel wrote Alibamu and Limamu, respectively.[8] As early as 1702, the tribe was known to the French as Alibamon with French maps identifying the river as Rivière des Alibamons.[5] Other spellings of the appellation have included Alibamu, Alabamo, Albama, Alebamon, Alibama, Alibamou, Alabamu, and Allibamou.[8][9][10][11]

Although the origin of Alabama could be discerned, sources disagree on its meaning. An 1842 article in the Jacksonville Republican originated the idea that the meaning was "Here We Rest."[8] This notion was popularized in the 1850s through the writings of Alexander Beaufort Meek.[8] Experts in the Muskogean languages have been unable to find any evidence to support such a translation.[5][8] Scholars believe the word comes from the Choctaw alba (meaning "plants" or "weeds") and amo (meaning "to cut", "to trim", or "to gather").[7][8][12] The meaning may have been "clearers of the thicket"[7] or "herb gatherers"[12][13] which may refer to clearing of land for cultivation[9] or to collecting medicinal plants.[13]

HistoryEdit

Main article: History of Alabama

Indigenous peoples, early historyEdit

Indigenous peoples of varying cultures lived in the area for thousands of years before European colonization. Trade with the Northeast via the Ohio River began during the Burial Mound Period (1000 BC–AD 700) and continued until European contact.[14] The agrarian Mississippian culture covered most of the state from 1000 to 1600 AD, with one of its major centers being at the Moundville Archaeological Site in Moundville, Alabama.[15][16] Analysis of artifacts recovered from archaeological excavations at Moundville were the basis of scholars' formulating the characteristics of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC).[17] 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.[18]

Among the historical tribes of Native American people living in the area of present-day Alabama at the time of European contact were Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee, and the Muskogean-speaking Alabama (Alibamu), Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Koasati, and Mobile.[19]

European settlementEdit

The French founded the first European settlement in the region at Old Mobile, in 1702.[20] The area was French from 1702 to 1763; part of British West Florida from 1763 to 1780. Thomas Bassett was the first British settler in the state. He settled near what is now Tombigbee River in Washington County.[21] Alabama became part of Spanish West Florida from 1780 to 1810; part of the independent Republic of West Florida for a short time (90 days); annexed by the U.S. and added to the Territory of Orleans (1810); and, finally, added to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Throughout these later developments, however, the Spanish had kept a nominal (although largely ignored) governmental presence in the region, based out of Mobile. When Andrew Jackson's forces occupied Mobile in 1814 —while preparing for the Battle of New Orleans —he demonstrated the United States' de facto authority over the region, effectively ending Spanish governance (though not its claim), while gaining an unencumbered passage to the gulf.[22]

The area making up today's northern and central Alabama, known as the Yazoo lands, had been claimed by the Province of Georgia after 1763. Following the Revolutionary War, it remained a part of the state of Georgia —although heavily disputed. Conflicting claims to the area were held, first by several Native American tribes (most notably the Cherokee and Yazoo), by other states (e.g. South Carolina); and by the US federal government; Britain and Spain. In 1802, the region was joined to the Mississippi Territory. Individual statehood was delayed, however, by the territory's lack of a coastline.

Statehood, Civil War and ReconstructionEdit

Alabama became the twenty-second state —admitted to the Union in 1819. Part of the frontier in the 1820s and 1830s, its constitution provided for universal suffrage for white men. Settlers rapidly arrived to take advantage of the fertile soil. Southeastern planters and traders from the Upper South brought slaves with them as the cotton plantations expanded. The economy of the central "Black Belt" (named for its dark, productive soil) was built around large cotton plantations whose owners' wealth grew largely from slave labor.[23] The area also drew many poor, disfranchised people who became subsistence farmers. The 1860 census records show that enslaved Africans comprised 45% of the state's total population of 964,201. There were only 2,690 free persons of color living in Alabama at the time.

On January 11, 1861, Alabama seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America. While few battles were fought in the state, Alabama contributed about 120,000 soldiers to the American Civil War. Alabama's slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment in 1865.[24] During Reconstruction, the new state legislators created a public school system for the first time, as well as establishing some welfare institutions to help its people. Alabama was officially restored to the Union in 1868.

After the Civil War, the state was still chiefly agricultural, with an economy tied to cotton. Planters resisted working with free labor during Reconstruction and sought to re-establish controls over freedmen. In the early years the Ku Klux Klan had numerous independent chapters in Alabama that attacked freedmen and other Republicans. After it was suppressed, insurgent whites organized paramilitary groups, such as the Red Shirts and White League, that acted more openly to suppress black voting. Regaining power by the late 1870s, in the last decade of the 19th century, white Democrats passed electoral laws and constitutional amendments to disfranchise most blacks and many poor whites. Having regained power in the state legislature, Democrats passed Jim Crow laws, including racial segregation in public facilities, to restore white supremacy.

In 1875, it passed a Blaine Amendment preventing the use of public money from being used to finance Catholic schools.[25]

1900-1960Edit

In its new constitution of 1901, the legislature effectively disfranchised African Americans through voting restrictions. While the planter class had engaged poor whites in supporting these legislative efforts, the new restrictions resulted in disfranchising poor whites as well, due mostly to imposition of a cumulative poll tax. The law was in effect for decades. By 1941, a total of more whites than blacks had been disfranchised: 600,000 whites to 520,000 blacks.[26]

The damage to the African-American community was pervasive, as nearly all its citizens lost the ability to vote. In 1900, 14 Black Belt counties (which were primarily African American) had more than 79,000 voters on the rolls. By June 1, 1903, the number of registered voters had dropped to 1,081. In 1900, Alabama had more than 181,000 African Americans eligible to vote. By 1903, 2,980 had managed to "qualify" to register, although at least 74,000 black voters were literate. The shut out was long-lasting.[26] The disfranchisement was ended by African Americans' leading the Civil Rights Movement and gaining Federal legislation in the mid-1960s to protect their voting and civil rights. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 also protected the suffrage of poor whites.

The rural-dominated legislature consistently underfunded schools and services for the disfranchised African Americans in the segregated state, but did not relieve them of paying taxes.[23] Continued racial discrimination, agricultural depression, and the failure of the cotton crops due to boll weevil infestation led tens of thousands of African Americans to seek opportunities in northern cities. They left Alabama in the early 20th century as part of the Great Migration to industrial jobs and better futures in northern industrial cities. The population growth rate in Alabama (see "Historical Populations" table below) dropped by nearly half from 1910–1920, reflecting the effect of emigration.

At the same time, many rural whites and blacks migrated to the city of Birmingham for work in new industrial jobs. It experienced such rapid growth that it was nicknamed "The Magic City". By the 1920s, Birmingham was the 19th largest city in the U.S. and held more than 30% of the population of the state. Heavy industry and mining were the basis of the economy.[27]

File:AlabamaWelcome.JPG

Industrial development related to the demands of World War II brought prosperity.[23] Cotton faded in importance as the state developed a manufacturing and service base. In the 1960s under Governor George Wallace, many whites in the state opposed integration efforts.

1960-presentEdit

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. They held on to old representation to maintain political and economic power in agricultural areas. In addition, the state legislature gerrymandered the few Birmingham legislative seats to ensure election by persons living outside Birmingham.

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."[4]

African Americans were presumed partial to Republicans for historical reasons, but they were disfranchised. White Alabamans felt bitter towards the Republican Party in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction. These factors created a longstanding tradition that any candidate who wanted to be viable with white voters had to run as a Democrat regardless of political beliefs. The state continued as one-party Democratic for more than a century after Reconstruction ended.[citation needed] It produced a number of national leaders.

During the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans achieved a protection of voting and other civil rights through the passage of the national Civil Rights Act of 1964,[28] and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. De jure segregation ended in the states as Jim Crow laws were invalidated or repealed.[29]

Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, cases were filed in Federal courts to force Alabama to properly redistrict by population both the state legislature House and Senate. In 1972, for the first time since 1901, the legislature implemented the Alabama constitution's provision for periodic redistricting based on population. This benefited the urban areas that had developed, as well as all in the population who had been underrepresented for more than 60 years.[4]

After 1972, the state's white voters shifted much of their support to Republican candidates in presidential elections (as also occurred in neighboring southern states). Since 1990 the majority of whites in the state have voted increasingly Republican in state elections. In 2010, Republicans won control of both houses of the legislature for the first time in 136 years.[30]

GeographyEdit

File:Map of Alabama terrain NA.jpg
Main article: Geography of Alabama

Template:See also

Alabama is the thirtieth largest state in the United States with 52,423 square miles (135,775 km2) of total area: 3.19% of the area is water, making Alabama twenty-third in the amount of surface water, also giving it the second largest inland waterway system in the United States.[31] 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 creating numerous creeks, streams, rivers, mountains, and lakes.[32]

The states bordering Alabama are 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.[32] Alabama ranges in elevation from sea level[2] at Mobile Bay to over 1,800 feet (550 m) in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast. The highest point is Mount Cheaha,[32] at a height of Template:Convert/ft. Alabama's land consists of Template:Convert/e6acre of forest or 67% of total land area.[33] Suburban Baldwin County, along the Gulf Coast, is the largest county in the state in both land area and water area.[34]

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.[35] Additionally, Alabama has four National Forests including Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead.[36] 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, in Winston County.

A Template:Convert/mi-wide meteorite impact crater is located in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. This is the Wetumpka crater, which is the site of "Alabama's greatest natural disaster".[37] A Template:Convert/ft-wide meteorite hit the area about 80 million years ago.[37] 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.[38] In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published evidence and established the site as an internationally recognized impact crater.[37]

Urban areasEdit

File:Birmingham panorama.jpg
File:100 1830.JPG
File:Downtown Mobile 2008 01.jpg
File:Montgomery Alabama panorama.jpg
File:Dwntwn tuscal greater renovation project 2010.jpg
Main article: List of Metropolitan areas of Alabama

Template:See also

Rank Metropolitan Area Population
(2010 Census)
Counties
1 Birmingham-Hoover 1,128,047 Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, Walker
2 Huntsville 417,593 Limestone, Madison
3 Mobile 412,992 Mobile
4 Montgomery 374,536 Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Montgomery
5 Tuscaloosa 219,461 Greene, Hale, Tuscaloosa
6 Decatur 153,829 Lawrence, Morgan
7 Florence-Muscle Shoals 147,137 Colbert, Lauderdale
8 Dothan 145,639 Geneva, Henry, Houston
9 Auburn-Opelika 140,247 Lee
10 Anniston-Oxford 118,572 Calhoun
11 Gadsden 104,430 Etowah
Total 3,362,483
Rank City Population
(2010 Census)
County
1 Birmingham 212,237 Jefferson
2 Montgomery 205,764 Montgomery
3 Mobile 195,111 Mobile
4 Huntsville 180,105 Madison
Limestone
5 Tuscaloosa 90,468 Tuscaloosa
6 Hoover 81,619 Jefferson
Shelby
7 Dothan 65,496 Houston
8 Decatur 55,683 Morgan
Limestone
9 Auburn 53,380 Lee
10 Madison 42,938 Madison
Limestone
11 Florence 39,319 Lauderdale
12 Gadsden 36,856 Etowah
13 Vestavia Hills 34,033 Jefferson
14 Prattville 33,960 Autauga
15 Phenix City 32,822 Russell

ClimateEdit

Main article: Climate of Alabama

The state is classified as humid subtropical (Cfa) under the Koppen Climate Classification.[39] 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.[40] Generally, Alabama has very hot summers and mild winters with copious precipitation throughout the year. Alabama receives an average of Template:Convert/in of rainfall annually and enjoys a lengthy growing season of up to 300 days in the southern part of the state.[40]

Summers in Alabama are among the hottest in the United States, with high temperatures averaging over Template:Convert/°F 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. Alabama's all-time record high of Template:Convert/F was recorded at Centerville on September 5, 1925; the all-time record low of Template:Convert/F was recorded at New Market on January 30, 1966.Template:Fact

File:Alabama winter 2008.jpg

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 seventh in the number of deaths from lightning and ninth in the number of deaths from lightning strikes per capita.[41] Sometimes tornadoes occur – these are common throughout the state, although the peak season for tornadoes varies from the northern to southern parts of the state. Alabama, along with Kansas, has the most reported EF5 tornadoes of any state – according to statistics from the National Climatic Data Center for the period January 1, 1950, to October 31, 2006. An F5 tornado is the most powerful of its kind.[42] Several long – tracked F5 tornadoes have contributed to Alabama reporting more tornado fatalities than any other state except for Texas and Mississippi. The Super Outbreak in March 1974 badly affected Alabama. 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. Alabama is one of the few places in the world that has a secondary tornado season (November and December) along with the spring severe weather season.

Winters are generally mild in Alabama, as they are throughout most of the southeastern United States, with average January low temperatures around Template:Convert/°F in Mobile and around Template:Convert/°F 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 Template:Convert/in per year. In the southern Gulf coast, snowfall is less frequent, sometimes going several years without any snowfall.

Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Alabama cities[43]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
City temp °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C
Birmingham high style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
low style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
Huntsville high style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
low style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
Mobile high style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
low style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
Montgomery high style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
low style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F

DemographicsEdit

Main article: Demographics of Alabama
File:Alabama population map.png

Template:US Census population

The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated Alabama's population at 4,661,900,[44] which represents an increase of 214,545, or 4.8%, since the last census in 2000.[45] 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.[45] Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 31,180 people, and migration within the country produced a net gain of 73,811 people.[45] The state had 108,000 foreign-born (2.4% of the state population), of which an estimated 22.2% were illegal immigrants (24,000).

The center of population of Alabama is located in Chilton County, outside of the town of Jemison, an area known as Jemison Division.[46]

Race and ancestryEdit

According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey,[47] the racial composition of the state was: 70.4% White (Non-Hispanic Whites: 68.7%), 26.2% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.0% Asian, less than 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific islander, 0.8% from some other race, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos (of any race) make up 2.7% of the total population.

The largest reported ancestry groups in Alabama: African American (26.2%), English (23.6%), Irish (7.7%), German (5.7%), and Scots-Irish (2%).[48][49][50] In the 2000 Census 621,080 people claimed to be of "American" ancestry, most them are of overwhelmingly English extraction, however most English Americans identify simply as having American ancestry because their roots have been in North America for so long, in many cases since the early 1600s. Demographers estimate that roughly 23% of people in Alabama are of predominantly English ancestry.[51][52][53][54] There are also many more people in Alabama of Scots-Irish origins than are self-reported.[50]

In 1984 under the Davis-Strong Act, Alabama established a state Indian Commission and officially recognized seven American Indian tribes, including the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, which is a 501 (c3) group. It is made up of descendants of the Chickamauga Cherokee and others who managed to evade Indian Removal in the 1830s. Working with Auburn University, the tribe has begun a revival of the Cherokee language.

ReligionEdit

Alabama is located in the middle of the Bible Belt. A majority of people in Alabama today identify as Protestant. The Mobile area is notable for its large percentage of Catholics, owing to the area's founding as part of the French colony of La Louisiane and later history under Spanish rule.[citation needed] As of 2000, the three largest denominational groups in Alabama are Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, and Catholic. The Southern Baptist Convention has the highest number of adherents in Alabama with 1,380,121, followed by the United Methodist Church with 327,734 members, and the Catholic Church with 150,647 adherents.[55]

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.[56] In a 2007 poll, 92% of Alabamians reported having at least some confidence in churches in the state.[57][58] In the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 80% of Alabama respondents reported their religion as Christian (other than Catholic,) 6% as Catholic, and 11% as having no religion at all.[59]

HealthEdit

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed that Alabama was the worst in the country for obesity with most counties having over 29% of adults obese, except for ten which exceeded 26%.[60] Residents were least likely of any state in the nation to exercise.[61] Alabama has one of the highest incidents of adult onset diabetes in the country, exceeding 10% of adults.[62][63]

EconomyEdit

File:Alabama quarter, reverse side, 2003.jpg

The state has heavily invested in aerospace, education, health care, and banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. According to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, the 2008 total gross state product was $170 billion, or $29,411 per capita. Alabama's 2008 GDP increased 0.7% from the previous year. The single largest increase came in the area of information.[64] In 1999, per capita income for the state was $18,189.[65]

As of September 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 8.9%.[66]

Alabama's agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs, cattle, 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 eight and ten in national cotton production, according to various reports,[67][68] 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. Also, Alabama produces aerospace and electronic products, mostly in the Huntsville area, location of NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the US Army Aviation and Missile Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal.

Alabama is part of the largest industrial growth corridor in the nation.[citation needed] Most of this growth is due to Alabama's rapidly expanding automotive manufacturing industry. Headquartered in the state are Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Since 1993, the automobile industry has generated more than 67,800 new jobs in the state. Alabama currently ranks 4th in the nation in automobile output.[69]

BirminghamEdit

In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)'s investments in bio-technology and medical research. UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center, the only one in Alabama, that provides health care and breakthrough medical research.[70] UAB is now the area's largest employer and the largest in Alabama, with a workforce of about 20,000. Other health care-services providers such as HealthSouth Corporation, Surgical Care Affiliates, Diagnostic Health Corporation and Naphcare are also headquartered in the city.

Birmingham is also a leading U.S. banking center and the headquarters of Regions Financial Corporation, BBVA Compass and Superior Bancorp. Birmingham-based Compass Banchshares was acquired by Madrid-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, a operations center campus and a $400 million dollar data center. Nearly a dozen smaller banks are also headquartered in the Magic City, 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.

Telecommunications provider AT&T, formerly BellSouth, also has a major presence in Birmingham with several large offices in the metropolitan area. The company has over 6,000 employees and more than 1,200 contract employees, that work at a local data center, located in the area. Major insurance providers include Protective Life, Infinity Property & Casualty, Liberty National Life Insurance Company and ProAssurance. Torchmark Corporation was headquartered in the city until 2006, and still maintains its largest operation in the city.[citation needed]

Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies. This started with Rust Engineering Company, which later became Rust International , and 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.)

HuntsvilleEdit

Huntsville's main economic influence is derived from aerospace and military technology. Redstone Arsenal, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Cummings Research Park (CRP), and the University of Alabama in Huntsville help drive the economy. Huntsville has commercial technology companies such as the network access company ADTRAN, computer graphics company Intergraph, and design and manufacturer of IT infrastructure Avocent. Telecommunications provider Deltacom is headquartered in Huntsville. Cinram manufactures and distributes 20th Century Fox DVDs and Blu-ray Discs out of their Huntsville plant. Sanmina-SCI has a large presence in the area.[citation needed] Forty-two Fortune 500 companies have operations in Huntsville.[citation needed] In 2005, Forbes Magazine named the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area as 6th best place in the nation for doing business, and number one in terms of the number of engineers per total employment.[citation needed]

MobileEdit

The city of Mobile, Alabama's only saltwater port, is a busy seaport on the Gulf of Mexico with inland waterway access to the Midwest by way of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Port of Mobile is currently the 9th largest by tonnage in the United States.[71] In May 2007, a site north of Mobile was selected by German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp for a $3.7 billion steel production plant, with the promise of 2,700 permanent jobs.[72]

$9 billion is spent annually on "travel related expenses." This figure is used to indicate the extent of tourism.[73]

MontgomeryEdit

Montgomery is Alabama's capital and the second-largest city in the state; much of the city's economy is driven by government jobs. As of January 2011, the city's largest employers were Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, the State of Alabama, and the Montgomery Public Schools. Manufacturing is the third-largest sector of Montgomery's economy, and one of the fastest growing. Large manufacturing employers include Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Rheem Water Heaters, and Mobis Alabama.[74] The city's Gross Metropolitan Product is $12.15 billion, representing 8.7% of the Gross State Product of Alabama.[75]

TaxesEdit

Alabama levies a 2, 4, or 5 percent personal income tax, depending upon the amount earned and filing status. Taxpayers are not allowed to deduct their federal income tax from their Alabama state tax, but can deduct federal Social Security and Medicare taxes.

The state's general sales tax rate is 4%.[76] The collection rate could be substantially higher, depending upon additional city and county sales taxes. 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 a 11% tax on a meal. 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 also one of the few remaining states that levies a tax on food and medicine. Alabama's income tax on poor working families is among the nation's very highest.[77] 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.[77] Alabama's threshold is the lowest among the 41 states and the District of Columbia with income taxes.[77]

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.[78] Property taxes are the lowest in the United States. 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.

TransportationEdit

Alabama has five major interstate roads that cross it: I-65 runs north–south roughly through the middle of the state; I-59/I-20 travels from the central west border 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 runs east-northeast to the Georgia border, providing a main thoroughfare to Atlanta; and I-10 traverses the southernmost portion of the state, running from west to east through Mobile. Another interstate road, I-22, is currently under construction. When completed around 2012 it will connect Birmingham with Memphis, Tennessee. Several U.S.Highways also pass through the state, such as US 11, US 29, US 31, US 43, US 72, US 78, US 80, US 82, US 84, US 90,US 98, US 231, US 278, US 280, and US 431.

Major airports in Alabama include Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), Huntsville International Airport (HSV), Dothan Regional Airport (DHN), Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM), Muscle Shoals – Northwest Alabama Regional Airport (MSL), Tuscaloosa Regional Airport (TCL), and Pryor Field Regional Airport (DCU). For rail transport, Amtrak schedules the Crescent, a daily passenger train, running from New York to New Orleans with stops at Anniston, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa.

Water portsEdit

File:Mobile Alabama harbor aerial view.jpg

Water Ports of Alabama, listed from north to south

Port name Location Connected to
Port of Florence Florence/Muscle Shoals, on Pickwick LakeTennessee River
Port of Decatur Decatur, on Wheeler LakeTennessee River
Port of Guntersville Guntersville, on Lake GuntersvilleTennessee River
Port of Birmingham Birmingham, on Black Warrior River Tenn-Tom Waterway
Port of Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa, on Black Warrior RiverTenn-Tom Waterway
Port of Montgomery Montgomery, on Woodruff Lake Alabama River
Port of Mobile Mobile, on Mobile Bay Gulf of Mexico

Law and governmentEdit

File:Alabama state capitol, Montgomery.jpg

State governmentEdit

Main article: Government of Alabama

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 the world's longest constitution and is roughly forty times the length of the U.S. Constitution.[79][80] There is a significant movement to rewrite and modernize Alabama's constitution.[81] This movement is based upon the fact that Alabama's constitution highly centralizes power in Montgomery and leaves practically no power in local hands. Any policy changes proposed around 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 were intentional to codify segregation and racism.

Alabama is divided into three equal 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 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 Attorney General of Alabama, the Alabama Secretary of State, the Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, the Alabama State Treasurer, and the State Auditor of Alabama.

The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the Constitution and applying the law in state criminal and civil cases. The highest court is the Supreme Court of Alabama.

Local and county governmentEdit

Template:Alabama County Labelled Map

Alabama has 67 counties. Each county has its own elected legislative branch, usually called the County Commission, which usually also has executive authority in the county. Because of the restraints placed in the Alabama Constitution, all but seven counties (Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa) in the state have little to no home rule. Instead, most counties in the state must lobby the Local Legislation Committee of the state legislature to get simple local policies such as waste disposal to land use zoning.

Alabama is an alcoholic beverage control state; the government holds a monopoly on the sale of alcohol. However, counties can declare themselves "dry"; the state does not sell alcohol in those areas.

Rank County Population
(2010 Census)
Seat Largest City
1 Jefferson 658,466 Birmingham Birmingham
2 Mobile 412,992 Mobile Mobile
3 Madison 334,811 Huntsville Huntsville
4 Montgomery 229,363 Montgomery Montgomery
5 Shelby 195,085 Columbiana Hoover (part)
Alabaster
6 Tuscaloosa 194,656 Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa
7 Baldwin 182,265 Bay Minette Daphne
8 Lee 140,247 Opelika Auburn
9 Morgan 119,490 Decatur Decatur
10 Calhoun 118,572 Anniston Anniston

State politicsEdit

File:Dr. Robert Bentley.png

The current governor of the state is Republican Robert Bentley. The lieutenant governor is Republican Kay Ivey. The Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is Democrat Sue Bell Cobb. 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).

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 known as the Redeemers took control of the state government from the Republicans, in part by suppressing the African American vote.

After 1890, a coalition of whites passed laws to segregate and disenfranchise black residents, a process completed in provisions of the 1901 constitution. Provisions which disfranchised African Americans also disfranchised poor whites, however. By 1941 more whites than blacks had been disfranchised: 600,000 to 520,000, although the impact was greater on the African-American community, as almost all of its citizens were disfranchised.

From 1901 to the 1960s, the Democrat controlled state legislature failed to perform redistricting as population grew and shifted within the state. The result was a rural minority that dominated state politics until a series of court cases required redistricting in 1972.

With the disfranchisement of African Americans, the state became part of the "Solid South", a one-party system in which the Democratic Party became essentially the only 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.

Developments in the 1986 Democratic primary election lead to the election of the first Republican Governor in more than 100 years and started Republicans on the road to political dominance in the state. In that 1986 Democratic primary, in which just over one million voters cast ballots, the then-incumbent Lieutenant Governor, Bill Baxley, lost the Democratic nomination for Governor by approximately 8,000 votes to then fellow Democratic Attorney General Charles Graddick. The state Democratic party's five-member election contest committee invalidated the primary election result claiming that thousands of Republicans had "illegally" voted in the Demcratic primary for Graddick and as a result they removed Graddick from the ballot. The Democratic Party then placed Baxley's name on the ballot as the Democratic candidate instead of Mr. Graddick. The voters of the state revolted at what they perceived as disenfranchisement of their right to vote and elected the Republican challenger Guy Hunt as Governor. Hunt had been nominated in a statewide Republican primary that only had 28,000 participants compared to the 1,000,000 plus of the Democratic primary. That November Hunt became the first Republican Governor elected in Alabama since Reconstruction when he won 57% of the vote statewide against Baxley.

Since 1986, Republicans have won six of the seven Governors elections and become increasingly competitive in Alabama politics at many levels. They currently control both seats in the U.S. Senate and six out of the state's seven congressional seats.

Republicans now hold an 8–1 majority on the Alabama Supreme Court [82] and all ten seats on the state appellate courts. Until 1994, no Republicans held any of the court seats. This change also began, likely in part, due to the same perception by voters of Democratic party efforts to disenfranchise voters again in 1994. In that general election, the then-incumbent Chief Justice of Alabama, Sonny Hornsby, refused to leave office after losing the election by approximately 3,000 votes to Republican Perry Oliver Hooper, Sr. Hornsby sued Alabama in court and defiantly remained in office for more than a year before finally giving up the seat after losing in court. This ultimately would lead to a collaspe of support for Democrats at the ballot box in the next three or four election cycles losing18 of the 19 total court seats.

Today, Republicans also hold all seven of the statewide elected executive branch offices. Republicans also 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.

However, Democrats hold one of the three seats on the Alabama Public Service Commission.[83][84][85] Many local offices in the state are still held by Democrats. Local elections in rural counties are generally decided in the Democratic primary and local elections in metropolitan counties are generally decided in the Republican Primary, although there are exceptions.[86][87] Only two Republican Lieutenant Governors have been elected since Reconstruction, Steve Windom and Kay Ivey Kay Ivey, the current Lieutenant Governor. Windom served as Lt. Governor under Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman. Before 2011, the last time that Alabama had a governor and Lieutenant Governor of the same party was the period between 1983 and 1987 when Wallace was serving his fourth term as governor and Bill Baxley was serving as Lieutenant Governor; both were Democrats.

An overwhelming majority of sheriff's offices in Alabama are in Democratic hands. However, most of the Democratic sheriffs preside over more rural and less populated counties and the majority of Republicans preside over more urban/suburban and more populated counties.[88] Two Alabama counties (Montgomery and Calhoun) with a population of over 100,000 have Democratic sheriffs and five Alabama counties with a population of under 75,000 have Republican sheriffs (Autauga, Coffee, Dale, Coosa, and Blount).[89]

Alabama state politics gained nationwide and international attention in the 1950s and 1960s during the American Civil Rights Movement, when majority whites bureaucratically, and at times, violently resisted protests for electoral and social reform. George Wallace, the state's only four-term governor, remains a notorious and controversial figure. Only with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964[28] and Voting Rights Act of 1965 did African Americans regain suffrage and other civil rights.

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.[90]

In Alabama, the members of the Legislature take office immediately after the November elections, but the statewide officials, such as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and other constitutional offices take office in the following January.[91]

Template:Further

National politicsEdit

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic State winner
2008 60.32% 1,266,546 38.80% 813,479 John McCain
2004 62.46% 1,176,394 36.84% 693,933 George W. Bush
2000 56.47% 944,409 41.59% 695,602 George W. Bush
1996 50.12% 769,044 43.16% 662,165 Bob Dole
1992 47.65% 804,283 40.88% 690,080 George Bush
1988 59.17% 815,576 39.86% 549,506 George Bush
1984 60.54% 872,849 38.28% 551,899 Ronald Reagan
1980 48.75% 654,192 47.45% 636,730 Ronald Reagan
1976 42.61% 504,070 55.73% 659,170 Jimmy Carter
1972 72.43% 728,701 25.54% 256,923 Richard Nixon
1968* 13.99% 146,923 18.72% 196,579 George Wallace (I)
1964 69.45% 479,085 30.55% 210,732 Barry Goldwater
1960 42.16% 237,981 56.39% 318,303 John F. Kennedy
*State won by George Wallace
of the American Independent Party,
at 65.86%, or 691,425 votes

From 1876 through 1956, Alabama supported only Democratic presidential candidates, by large margins. In 1960, the Democrats won with John F. Kennedy on the ballot, but the Democratic electors from Alabama gave 6 of their 11 electoral votes as a protest to Harry Byrd. In 1964, Republican Barry Goldwater carried the state.

In the 1968 presidential election, Alabama supported native son and American Independent Party candidate George Wallace over both Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. Wallace was the official Democratic candidate in Alabama, while Humphrey was listed as the "National Democratic".[92] In 1976, Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter from Georgia carried the state, the region, and the nation, but Democratic control of the region slipped after that.

Since 1980, conservative Alabama voters have increasingly voted for Republican candidates at the Federal level, especially in Presidential elections. By contrast, Democratic candidates have been elected to many state-level offices and until 2010 comprised a longstanding majority in the Alabama Legislature; see Dixiecrat.

In 2004, George W. Bush won Alabama's nine electoral votes by a margin of 25 percentage points with 62.5% of the vote, mostly white voters. The 11 counties that voted Democratic were Black Belt counties, where African Americans are the majority racial group.

The state's two U.S. senators are Jefferson B. Sessions III and Richard C. Shelby, both Republicans.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the state is represented by seven members, six of whom are Republicans: (Jo Bonner, Mike D. Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Morris J. Brooks, Martha Roby, and Spencer Bachus) and one Democrat: Terri Sewell). Template:Further

EducationEdit

Main article: Education in Alabama

Primary and secondary educationEdit

Public primary and secondary education in Alabama is under the overview of the Alabama State Board of Education as well as local oversight by 67 county school boards and 60 city boards of education. Together, 1,541 individual schools provide education for 743,364 elementary and secondary students.[93]

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.[93] 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. In 2004, 23 percent of schools met AYP.[94]

While Alabama's public education system has improved, it lags behind in achievement compared to other states. According to U.S. Census data, Alabama's high school graduation rate – 75% – is the second lowest in the United States (after Mississippi).[95] The largest educational gains were among people with some college education but without degrees.[96]

Colleges and universitiesEdit

Main article: List of colleges and universities in Alabama
File:Harrison-plaza2.jpg

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 two medical schools (University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of South Alabama), two veterinary colleges (Auburn University and Tuskegee University), a dental school (University of Alabama at Birmingham), 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. Colleges and universities in Alabama offer degree programs from two-year associate degrees to 16 doctoral level programs.[97]

Accreditation of academic programs is through the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges as well as a plethora of subject focused national and international accreditation agencies.[98]

SportsEdit

Professional sports teamsEdit

Main article: List of professional sports teams in Alabama

Alabama has several minor league professional teams including four minor league baseball teams.

Club City Sport League Venue Notes
Alabama Hammers Huntsville Arena football Southern Indoor Football League Von Braun Center
Birmingham Barons Birmingham Baseball Southern League Regions Park
Huntsville Havoc Huntsville Ice Hockey Southern Professional Hockey League Von Braun Center
Huntsville Stars Huntsville Baseball Southern League Joe W. Davis Stadium
Mobile BayBears Mobile Baseball Southern League Hank Aaron Stadium
Montgomery Biscuits Montgomery Baseball Southern League Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium
Rocket City United Huntsville Soccer National Premier Soccer League Madison City Schools Stadium
Tennessee Valley Tigers Huntsville Football Independent Women's Football League Milton Frank Stadium replaced the Alabama Renegades

Notable AlabamiansEdit

Main article: List of people from Alabama

Cultural sites and eventsEdit

See alsoEdit

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Template:Clear

ReferencesEdit

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  35. "National Park Guide". Geographic Search. Washington, D.C: National Park Service – U.S. Department of the Interior. http://home.nps.gov/applications/parksearch/state.cfm?st=al. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
  36. "National Forests in Alabama". USDA Forest Service. United States Department of Agriculture. http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/alabama/forests/. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 "Wetumpka Impact Crater" Wetumpka Public Library. Retrieved August 21, 2007.
  38. "The Wetumpka Astrobleme" by John C. Hall, Alabama Heritage, Fall 1996, Number 42.
  39. Christopher M. Godfrey (2008-11-04). "Greenhouse effect and climate". Atmospheric Sciences. University of North Carolina, Asheville. http://facstaff.unca.edu/cgodfrey/courses/atms179/ppt/greenhouse.pdf. 
  40. 40.0 40.1 "Alabama Climate". Britannica.com. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-78303/Alabama. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  41. Lightning Fatalities, Injuries and Damages in the United States, 1990–2003, [2] Retrieved May 8, 2007
  42. Fujita scale. Tornadoproject.com. Retrieved September 3, 2007.
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  44. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/tables/NST-EST2008-01.csv. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
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  46. "Population and Population Centers by State - 2000". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/statecenters.txt. Retrieved 2008-12-03. 
  47. American Community Survey: Alabama. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
  48. Data on selected ancestry groups.
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  50. 50.0 50.1 American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. "Alabama - Selected Social Characteristics in the United States: 2006-2008". Factfinder.census.gov. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ADPTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=04000US01&-qr_name=ACS_2008_3YR_G00_DP3YR2&-ds_name=&-_lang=en&-redoLog=false. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
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  54. Stanley Lieberson and Mary C. Waters, 'Ethnic Groups in Flux: The Changing Ethnic Responses of American Whites', Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 487, No. 79 (September 1986), pp. 82-86.
  55. "State Membership Reports". thearda.com. http://www.thearda.com/mapsReports/reports/state/01_2000.asp. Retrieved 2010-06-15. 
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  59. Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar (2009). "AMERICAN RELIGIOUS IDENTIFICATION SURVEY (ARIS) 2008" (PDF). Hartford, Connecticut, USA: Trinity College. p. 20. http://b27.cc.trincoll.edu/weblogs/AmericanReligionSurvey-ARIS/reports/ARIS_Report_2008.pdf. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 
  60. "County Level Estimates of Obesity — State Maps". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2008. http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DDT_STRS2/CountyPrevalenceData.aspx?StateId=1&mode=OBS. 
  61. "Highest Rates of Leisure-Time Physical Inactivity in Appalachia and South". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p0216_physicalinactivity.html. 
  62. "County Level Estimates of Diagnosed Diabetes — State Maps". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2008. http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DDT_STRS2/CountyPrevalenceData.aspx?mode=DBT. 
  63. CDC national chart on diabetes
  64. "GDP by State (2008)". Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Accounts. June 2, 2009. http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/gsp_newsrelease.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-09.  full release with tables
  65. "United States Census Bureau". State and County Quick Facts. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/01000.html. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  66. Bls.gov; Local Area Unemployment Statistics
  67. "Alabama and CBER: 75 Years of Change" (PDF). Alabama Business. Center for Business and Economic Research, Culverhouse College of Commerce, The University of Alabama. Q4 2005. http://cber.cba.ua.edu/pdf/ab2005q4.pdf. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
  68. "State Highlights for 2004–2005" (PDF). Alabama Cooperative Extension System. USDA, NASS, Alabama Statistical Office. 2005. http://www.aces.edu/dept/nass/bulletin/2005/pg05.pdf. Retrieved 2006-09-23. 
  69. "Vehicle Technologies Program: Fact #539: October 6, 2008 Light Vehicle Production by State". .eere.energy.gov. 2008-10-06. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/facts/2008_fotw539.html. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  70. "Verified Trauma Centers". American College of Surgeons, Verified Trauma Centers. December 30, 2010. http://www.facs.org/trauma/verified.html. Retrieved 2011-01-09. 
  71. "WATERBORNE COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES". U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Waterborne Commerce Statistics. p. 90. http://www.iwr.usace.army.mil/ndc/wcsc/pdf/wcusnatl08.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 
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  76. Comparison of State and Local Retail Sales Taxes, July 2004 Retrieved on May 25, 2007.
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 "Reducing Alabama's Income Tax on Working-Poor Families: Two Options - 4/14/99". Cbpp.org. http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1812. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  78. "Alabama State Local Tax Burden Compared to U.S. Average (1970–2007)" (PDF). Tax Foundation. http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/sl_burden_alabama-2007-04-04.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  79. Template:Cite news
  80. "Constitution of Alabama - 1901". The Alabama Legislative Information System. http://www.legislature.state.al.us/CodeOfAlabama/Constitution/1901/Constitution1901_toc.htm. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  81. "Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform". Constitutionalreform.org. http://www.constitutionalreform.org/. Retrieved 2010-10-24. 
  82. "Sue Bell Cobb considering running for governor - Breaking News from The Birmingham News - al.com". Blog.al.com. 2009-05-02. http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/05/sue_bell_cobb_considering_runn.html. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  83. "Commissioners". Psc.state.al.us. http://www.psc.state.al.us/commissioners.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  84. Special (2008-11-05). "Lucy Baxley wins Alabama Public Service Commission presidency, but recount possible". Birmingham News via al.com. http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2008/11/lucy_baxley_wins_alabama_publi.html. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  85. Public Service Commission: Twinkle Cavanaugh, Terry Dunn join GOP sweep | al.com
  86. "2006 Gubernatorial Democratic Primary Election Results - Alabama". Uselectionatlas.org. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=1&year=2006&f=0&off=5&elect=1. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  87. "2006 Gubernatorial Republican Primary Election Results - Alabama". Uselectionatlas.org. 2007-02-15. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=1&year=2006&f=0&off=5&elect=2. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  88. "Association". Alabama Sheriffs. http://www.alabamasheriffs.com/?PageID=131&IsNav=true. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  89. "2007-2011 Alabama Sheriffs". Alabamasheriffs.com. http://www.alabamasheriffs.com/Image.aspx?ImageID=11481&Title=2007-2011+Alabama+Sheriffs. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
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  91. Lee, McDowell (2009). "Alabama's Legislative Process". State of Alabama. http://www.legislature.state.al.us/misc/legislativeprocess/legislativeprocess_ml.html. 
  92. "1968 Presidential General Election Results - Alabama". Uselectionatlas.org. 1968-11-05. http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=1&year=1968&f=0&off=0&elect=0. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  93. 93.0 93.1 "Alabama Education Quick Facts 2007" (PDF). http://www.alsde.edu/general/quick_facts.pdf. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  94. "Eighty-Two Percent of Alabama Schools Make AYP While Increasing Annual Measurable Objectives" (PDF). http://www.alsde.edu/Accountability/2007Reports/Press/2007AYPNewsRelease.pdf. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  95. http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-24.pdf
  96. Education Statistics. CensusScope.org
  97. "Degree titles and abbreviations". Alabama Commission on Higher Education. http://www.ache.state.al.us/Acadaffr/ProInv/Degreeabbr.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-03.  Template:Dead link
  98. "Accreditation". Alabama Commission on Higher Education. http://www.ache.state.al.us/Colleges&Universities/Accreditation/index.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 

Further readingEdit

For a detailed bibliography, see the History of Alabama.
  • Atkins, Leah Rawls, Wayne Flynt, William Warren Rogers, and David Ward. Alabama: The History of a Deep South State (1994)
  • Flynt, Wayne. Alabama in the Twentieth Century (2004)
  • Owen Thomas M. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography 4 vols. 1921.
  • Jackson, Harvey H. Inside Alabama: A Personal History of My State (2004)
  • Mohl, Raymond A. "Latinization in the Heart of Dixie: Hispanics in Late-twentieth-century Alabama" Alabama Review 2002 55(4): 243–274. ISSN 0002-4341
  • Peirce, Neal R. The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States (1974). Information on politics and economics 1960–72.
  • Williams, Benjamin Buford. A Literary History of Alabama: The Nineteenth Century 1979.
  • WPA. Guide to Alabama (1939)

External linksEdit

Template:Sister project links Template:Osmrelation

Template:Geographic Location (8-way)

Template:Navboxes Template:United States Template:United States topics Template:Succession Coordinates: Template:Coord/input/dm


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Alabama (Template:IPAc-en) is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States of America. 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 ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland waterways. The state ranks 23rd in population with 4.7 million residents in 2009.[1]

From the American Civil War until World War II, Alabama, like many Southern states, suffered economic hardship, in part because of continued dependence on agriculture. Despite the growth of major industries and urban centers, white rural interests dominated the state legislature until the 1960s, while urban interests and African Americans were under-represented.[2] Following World War II, Alabama experienced growth as the economy of the state transitioned from agriculture to diversified interests in heavy manufacturing, mineral extraction, education, and technology. In addition, the establishment or expansion of multiple military installations, primarily those of the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, added to state jobs.

Alabama is unofficially nicknamed the Yellowhammer State, after the state bird. Alabama is also known as the "Heart of Dixie". The state tree is the Longleaf Pine, the state flower is the Camellia. The capital of Alabama is Montgomery. The largest city by population is Birmingham. The largest city by total land area is Huntsville. The oldest city is Mobile, founded by French colonists.

EtymologyEdit

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 Alabama River,[3] served as the etymological source of the names of the river and state. In the Alabama language, the word for an Alabama person is Albaamo (or variously Albaama or Albàamo in different dialects; the plural form "Alabama persons" is Albaamaha).[4] The word Alabama is believed to have originated from the Choctaw language[5] and was later adopted by the Alabama tribe as their name.[6] The spelling of the word varies significantly between sources.[6] The first usage appears in three accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540 with Garcilasso de la Vega using Alibamo, while the Knight of Elvas and Rodrigo Ranjel wrote Alibamu and Limamu, respectively.[6] As early as 1702, the tribe was known to the French as Alibamon with French maps identifying the river as Rivière des Alibamons.[3] Other spellings of the appellation have included Alibamu, Alabamo, Albama, Alebamon, Alibama, Alibamou, Alabamu, and Allibamou.[6][7][8][9]

Although the origin of Alabama could be discerned, sources disagree on its meaning. An 1842 article in the Jacksonville Republican originated the idea that the meaning was "Here We Rest."[6] This notion was popularized in the 1850s through the writings of Alexander Beaufort Meek.[6] Experts in the Muskogean languages have been unable to find any evidence to support such a translation.[3][6] Scholars believe the word comes from the Choctaw alba (meaning "plants" or "weeds") and amo (meaning "to cut", "to trim", or "to gather").[5][6][10] The meaning may have been "clearers of the thicket"[5] or "herb gatherers"[10][11] which may refer to clearing of land for cultivation[7] or to collecting medicinal plants.[11]

HistoryEdit

Main article: History of Alabama

Indigenous peoples, early historyEdit

Indigenous peoples of varying cultures lived in the area for thousands of years before European colonization. Trade with the Northeast via the Ohio River began during the Burial Mound Period (1000 BC–AD 700) and continued until European contact.[12] The agrarian Mississippian culture covered most of the state from 1000 to 1600 AD, with one of its major centers being at the Moundville Archaeological Site in Moundville, Alabama.[13][14] Analysis of artifacts recovered from archaeological excavations at Moundville were the basis of scholars' formulating the characteristics of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC).[15] 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.[16]

Among the historical tribes of Native American people living in the area of present-day Alabama at the time of European contact were Iroquoian-speaking Cherokee, and the Muskogean-speaking Alabama (Alibamu), Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Koasati, and Mobile.[17]

European settlementEdit

The French founded the first European settlement in the region at Old Mobile, in 1702.[18] The area was French from 1702 to 1763; part of British West Florida from 1763 to 1780. Thomas Bassett was the first British settler in the state. He settled near what is now Tombigbee River in Washington County.[19] Alabama became part of Spanish West Florida from 1780 to 1810; part of the independent Republic of West Florida for a short time (90 days); annexed by the U.S. and added to the Territory of Orleans (1810); and, finally, added to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Throughout these later developments, however, the Spanish had kept a nominal (although largely ignored) governmental presence in the region, based out of Mobile. When Andrew Jackson's forces occupied Mobile in 1814 —while preparing for the Battle of New Orleans —he demonstrated the United States' de facto authority over the region, effectively ending Spanish governance (though not its claim), while gaining an unencumbered passage to the gulf.[20]

The area making up today's northern and central Alabama, known as the Yazoo lands, had been claimed by the Province of Georgia after 1763. Following the Revolutionary War, it remained a part of the state of Georgia —although heavily disputed. Conflicting claims to the area were held, first by several Native American tribes (most notably the Cherokee and Yazoo), by other states (e.g. South Carolina); and by the US federal government; Britain and Spain. In 1802, the region was joined to the Mississippi Territory. Individual statehood was delayed, however, by the territory's lack of a coastline.

Statehood, Civil War and ReconstructionEdit

Alabama became the twenty-second state —admitted to the Union in 1819. Part of the frontier in the 1820s and 1830s, its constitution provided for universal suffrage for white men. Settlers rapidly arrived to take advantage of the fertile soil. Southeastern planters and traders from the Upper South brought slaves with them as the cotton plantations expanded. The economy of the central "Black Belt" (named for its dark, productive soil) was built around large cotton plantations whose owners' wealth grew largely from slave labor.[21] The area also drew many poor, disfranchised people who became subsistence farmers. The 1860 census records show that enslaved Africans comprised 45% of the state's total population of 964,201. There were only 2,690 free persons of color living in Alabama at the time.

On January 11, 1861, Alabama seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America. While few battles were fought in the state, Alabama contributed about 120,000 soldiers to the American Civil War. Alabama's slaves were freed by the 13th Amendment in 1865.[22] During Reconstruction, the new state legislators created a public school system for the first time, as well as establishing some welfare institutions to help its people. Alabama was officially restored to the Union in 1868.

After the Civil War, the state was still chiefly agricultural, with an economy tied to cotton. Planters resisted working with free labor during Reconstruction and sought to re-establish controls over freedmen. In the early years the Ku Klux Klan had numerous independent chapters in Alabama that attacked freedmen and other Republicans. After it was suppressed, insurgent whites organized paramilitary groups, such as the Red Shirts and White League, that acted more openly to suppress black voting. Regaining power by the late 1870s, in the last decade of the 19th century, white Democrats passed electoral laws and constitutional amendments to disfranchise most blacks and many poor whites. Having regained power in the state legislature, Democrats passed Jim Crow laws, including racial segregation in public facilities, to restore white supremacy.

In 1875, it passed a Blaine Amendment preventing the use of public money from being used to finance Catholic schools.[23]

1900-1960Edit

In its new constitution of 1901, the legislature effectively disfranchised African Americans through voting restrictions. While the planter class had engaged poor whites in supporting these legislative efforts, the new restrictions resulted in disfranchising poor whites as well, due mostly to imposition of a cumulative poll tax. The law was in effect for decades. By 1941, a total of more whites than blacks had been disfranchised: 600,000 whites to 520,000 blacks.[24]

The damage to the African-American community was pervasive, as nearly all its citizens lost the ability to vote. In 1900, 14 Black Belt counties (which were primarily African American) had more than 79,000 voters on the rolls. By June 1, 1903, the number of registered voters had dropped to 1,081. In 1900, Alabama had more than 181,000 African Americans eligible to vote. By 1903, 2,980 had managed to "qualify" to register, although at least 74,000 black voters were literate. The shut out was long-lasting.[24] The disfranchisement was ended by African Americans' leading the Civil Rights Movement and gaining Federal legislation in the mid-1960s to protect their voting and civil rights. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 also protected the suffrage of poor whites.

The rural-dominated legislature consistently underfunded schools and services for the disfranchised African Americans in the segregated state, but did not relieve them of paying taxes.[21] Continued racial discrimination, agricultural depression, and the failure of the cotton crops due to boll weevil infestation led tens of thousands of African Americans to seek opportunities in northern cities. They left Alabama in the early 20th century as part of the Great Migration to industrial jobs and better futures in northern industrial cities. The population growth rate in Alabama (see "Historical Populations" table below) dropped by nearly half from 1910–1920, reflecting the effect of emigration.

At the same time, many rural whites and blacks migrated to the city of Birmingham for work in new industrial jobs. It experienced such rapid growth that it was nicknamed "The Magic City". By the 1920s, Birmingham was the 19th largest city in the U.S. and held more than 30% of the population of the state. Heavy industry and mining were the basis of the economy.[25]

File:AlabamaWelcome.JPG

Industrial development related to the demands of World War II brought prosperity.[21] Cotton faded in importance as the state developed a manufacturing and service base. In the 1960s under Governor George Wallace, many whites in the state opposed integration efforts.

1960-presentEdit

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. They held on to old representation to maintain political and economic power in agricultural areas. In addition, the state legislature gerrymandered the few Birmingham legislative seats to ensure election by persons living outside Birmingham.

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."[2]

African Americans were presumed partial to Republicans for historical reasons, but they were disfranchised. White Alabamans felt bitter towards the Republican Party in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction. These factors created a longstanding tradition that any candidate who wanted to be viable with white voters had to run as a Democrat regardless of political beliefs. The state continued as one-party Democratic for more than a century after Reconstruction ended.[citation needed] It produced a number of national leaders.

During the Civil Rights Movement, African Americans achieved a protection of voting and other civil rights through the passage of the national Civil Rights Act of 1964,[26] and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. De jure segregation ended in the states as Jim Crow laws were invalidated or repealed.[27]

Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, cases were filed in Federal courts to force Alabama to properly redistrict by population both the state legislature House and Senate. In 1972, for the first time since 1901, the legislature implemented the Alabama constitution's provision for periodic redistricting based on population. This benefited the urban areas that had developed, as well as all in the population who had been underrepresented for more than 60 years.[2]

After 1972, the state's white voters shifted much of their support to Republican candidates in presidential elections (as also occurred in neighboring southern states). Since 1990 the majority of whites in the state have voted increasingly Republican in state elections. In 2010, Republicans won control of both houses of the legislature for the first time in 136 years.[28]

GeographyEdit

File:Map of Alabama terrain NA.jpg
Main article: Geography of Alabama

Template:See also

Alabama is the thirtieth largest state in the United States with 52,423 square miles (135,775 km2) of total area: 3.19% of the area is water, making Alabama twenty-third in the amount of surface water, also giving it the second largest inland waterway system in the United States.[29] 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 creating numerous creeks, streams, rivers, mountains, and lakes.[30]

The states bordering Alabama are 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.[30] Alabama ranges in elevation from sea level[31] at Mobile Bay to over 1,800 feet (550 m) in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast. The highest point is Mount Cheaha,[30] at a height of Template:Convert/ft. Alabama's land consists of Template:Convert/e6acre of forest or 67% of total land area.[32] Suburban Baldwin County, along the Gulf Coast, is the largest county in the state in both land area and water area.[33]

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.[34] Additionally, Alabama has four National Forests including Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead.[35] 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, in Winston County.

A Template:Convert/mi-wide meteorite impact crater is located in Elmore County, just north of Montgomery. This is the Wetumpka crater, which is the site of "Alabama's greatest natural disaster".[36] A Template:Convert/ft-wide meteorite hit the area about 80 million years ago.[36] 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.[37] In 2002, Christian Koeberl with the Institute of Geochemistry University of Vienna published evidence and established the site as an internationally recognized impact crater.[36]

Urban areasEdit

File:Birmingham panorama.jpg
File:100 1830.JPG
File:Downtown Mobile 2008 01.jpg
File:Montgomery Alabama panorama.jpg
File:Dwntwn tuscal greater renovation project 2010.jpg
Main article: List of Metropolitan areas of Alabama

Template:See also

Rank Metropolitan Area Population
(2010 Census)
Counties
1 Birmingham-Hoover 1,128,047 Bibb, Blount, Chilton, Jefferson, St. Clair, Shelby, Walker
2 Huntsville 417,593 Limestone, Madison
3 Mobile 412,992 Mobile
4 Montgomery 374,536 Autauga, Elmore, Lowndes, Montgomery
5 Tuscaloosa 219,461 Greene, Hale, Tuscaloosa
6 Decatur 153,829 Lawrence, Morgan
7 Florence-Muscle Shoals 147,137 Colbert, Lauderdale
8 Dothan 145,639 Geneva, Henry, Houston
9 Auburn-Opelika 140,247 Lee
10 Anniston-Oxford 118,572 Calhoun
11 Gadsden 104,430 Etowah
Total 3,362,483
Rank City Population
(2010 Census)
County
1 Birmingham 212,237 Jefferson
2 Montgomery 205,764 Montgomery
3 Mobile 195,111 Mobile
4 Huntsville 180,105 Madison
Limestone
5 Tuscaloosa 90,468 Tuscaloosa
6 Hoover 81,619 Jefferson
Shelby
7 Dothan 65,496 Houston
8 Decatur 55,683 Morgan
Limestone
9 Auburn 53,380 Lee
10 Madison 42,938 Madison
Limestone
11 Florence 39,319 Lauderdale
12 Gadsden 36,856 Etowah
13 Vestavia Hills 34,033 Jefferson
14 Prattville 33,960 Autauga
15 Phenix City 32,822 Russell

ClimateEdit

Main article: Climate of Alabama

The state is classified as humid subtropical (Cfa) under the Koppen Climate Classification.[38] 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.[39] Generally, Alabama has very hot summers and mild winters with copious precipitation throughout the year. Alabama receives an average of Template:Convert/in of rainfall annually and enjoys a lengthy growing season of up to 300 days in the southern part of the state.[39]

Summers in Alabama are among the hottest in the United States, with high temperatures averaging over Template:Convert/°F 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. Alabama's all-time record high of Template:Convert/F was recorded at Centerville on September 5, 1925; the all-time record low of Template:Convert/F was recorded at New Market on January 30, 1966.Template:Fact

File:Alabama winter 2008.jpg

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 seventh in the number of deaths from lightning and ninth in the number of deaths from lightning strikes per capita.[40] Sometimes tornadoes occur – these are common throughout the state, although the peak season for tornadoes varies from the northern to southern parts of the state. Alabama, along with Kansas, has the most reported EF5 tornadoes of any state – according to statistics from the National Climatic Data Center for the period January 1, 1950, to October 31, 2006. An F5 tornado is the most powerful of its kind.[41] Several long – tracked F5 tornadoes have contributed to Alabama reporting more tornado fatalities than any other state except for Texas and Mississippi. The Super Outbreak in March 1974 badly affected Alabama. 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. Alabama is one of the few places in the world that has a secondary tornado season (November and December) along with the spring severe weather season.

Winters are generally mild in Alabama, as they are throughout most of the southeastern United States, with average January low temperatures around Template:Convert/°F in Mobile and around Template:Convert/°F 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 Template:Convert/in per year. In the southern Gulf coast, snowfall is less frequent, sometimes going several years without any snowfall.

Monthly normal high and low temperatures for various Alabama cities[42]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
City temp °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C °F °C
Birmingham high style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
low style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
Huntsville high style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
low style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
Mobile high style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
low style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
Montgomery high style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#e5afaa; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F
low style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F style="text-align:center; background:#c5dfe1; color:Black;" Template:Convert/F

DemographicsEdit

Main article: Demographics of Alabama
File:Alabama population map.png

Template:US Census population

The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2008, estimated Alabama's population at 4,661,900,[43] which represents an increase of 214,545, or 4.8%, since the last census in 2000.[44] 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.[44] Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 31,180 people, and migration within the country produced a net gain of 73,811 people.[44] The state had 108,000 foreign-born (2.4% of the state population), of which an estimated 22.2% were illegal immigrants (24,000).

The center of population of Alabama is located in Chilton County, outside of the town of Jemison, an area known as Jemison Division.[45]

Race and ancestryEdit

According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey,[46] the racial composition of the state was: 70.4% White (Non-Hispanic Whites: 68.7%), 26.2% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.0% Asian, less than 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific islander, 0.8% from some other race, and 1.2% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos (of any race) make up 2.7% of the total population.

The largest reported ancestry groups in Alabama: African American (26.2%), English (23.6%), Irish (7.7%), German (5.7%), and Scots-Irish (2%).[47][48][49] In the 2000 Census 621,080 people claimed to be of "American" ancestry, most them are of overwhelmingly English extraction, however most English Americans identify simply as having American ancestry because their roots have been in North America for so long, in many cases since the early 1600s. Demographers estimate that roughly 23% of people in Alabama are of predominantly English ancestry.[50][51][52][53] There are also many more people in Alabama of Scots-Irish origins than are self-reported.[49]

In 1984 under the Davis-Strong Act, Alabama established a state Indian Commission and officially recognized seven American Indian tribes, including the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, which is a 501 (c3) group. It is made up of descendants of the Chickamauga Cherokee and others who managed to evade Indian Removal in the 1830s. Working with Auburn University, the tribe has begun a revival of the Cherokee language.

ReligionEdit

Alabama is located in the middle of the Bible Belt. A majority of people in Alabama today identify as Protestant. The Mobile area is notable for its large percentage of Catholics, owing to the area's founding as part of the French colony of La Louisiane and later history under Spanish rule.[citation needed] As of 2000, the three largest denominational groups in Alabama are Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, and Catholic. The Southern Baptist Convention has the highest number of adherents in Alabama with 1,380,121, followed by the United Methodist Church with 327,734 members, and the Catholic Church with 150,647 adherents.[54]

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.[55] In a 2007 poll, 92% of Alabamians reported having at least some confidence in churches in the state.[56][57] In the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey, 80% of Alabama respondents reported their religion as Christian (other than Catholic,) 6% as Catholic, and 11% as having no religion at all.[58]

HealthEdit

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed that Alabama was the worst in the country for obesity with most counties having over 29% of adults obese, except for ten which exceeded 26%.[59] Residents were least likely of any state in the nation to exercise.[60] Alabama has one of the highest incidents of adult onset diabetes in the country, exceeding 10% of adults.[61][62]

EconomyEdit

File:Alabama quarter, reverse side, 2003.jpg

The state has heavily invested in aerospace, education, health care, and banking, and various heavy industries, including automobile manufacturing, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication. According to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, the 2008 total gross state product was $170 billion, or $29,411 per capita. Alabama's 2008 GDP increased 0.7% from the previous year. The single largest increase came in the area of information.[63] In 1999, per capita income for the state was $18,189.[64]

As of September 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 8.9%.[65]

Alabama's agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs, cattle, 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 eight and ten in national cotton production, according to various reports,[66][67] 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. Also, Alabama produces aerospace and electronic products, mostly in the Huntsville area, location of NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center and the US Army Aviation and Missile Command, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal.

Alabama is part of the largest industrial growth corridor in the nation.[citation needed] Most of this growth is due to Alabama's rapidly expanding automotive manufacturing industry. Headquartered in the state are Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Since 1993, the automobile industry has generated more than 67,800 new jobs in the state. Alabama currently ranks 4th in the nation in automobile output.[68]

BirminghamEdit

In the 1970s and 1980s, Birmingham's economy was transformed by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)'s investments in bio-technology and medical research. UAB Hospital is a Level I trauma center, the only one in Alabama, that provides health care and breakthrough medical research.[69] UAB is now the area's largest employer and the largest in Alabama, with a workforce of about 20,000. Other health care-services providers such as HealthSouth Corporation, Surgical Care Affiliates, Diagnostic Health Corporation and Naphcare are also headquartered in the city.

Birmingham is also a leading U.S. banking center and the headquarters of Regions Financial Corporation, BBVA Compass and Superior Bancorp. Birmingham-based Compass Banchshares was acquired by Madrid-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, a operations center campus and a $400 million dollar data center. Nearly a dozen smaller banks are also headquartered in the Magic City, 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.

Telecommunications provider AT&T, formerly BellSouth, also has a major presence in Birmingham with several large offices in the metropolitan area. The company has over 6,000 employees and more than 1,200 contract employees, that work at a local data center, located in the area. Major insurance providers include Protective Life, Infinity Property & Casualty, Liberty National Life Insurance Company and ProAssurance. Torchmark Corporation was headquartered in the city until 2006, and still maintains its largest operation in the city.[citation needed]

Birmingham is also a powerhouse of construction and engineering companies. This started with Rust Engineering Company, which later became Rust International , and 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.)

HuntsvilleEdit

Huntsville's main economic influence is derived from aerospace and military technology. Redstone Arsenal, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Cummings Research Park (CRP), and the University of Alabama in Huntsville help drive the economy. Huntsville has commercial technology companies such as the network access company ADTRAN, computer graphics company Intergraph, and design and manufacturer of IT infrastructure Avocent. Telecommunications provider Deltacom is headquartered in Huntsville. Cinram manufactures and distributes 20th Century Fox DVDs and Blu-ray Discs out of their Huntsville plant. Sanmina-SCI has a large presence in the area.[citation needed] Forty-two Fortune 500 companies have operations in Huntsville.[citation needed] In 2005, Forbes Magazine named the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area as 6th best place in the nation for doing business, and number one in terms of the number of engineers per total employment.[citation needed]

MobileEdit

The city of Mobile, Alabama's only saltwater port, is a busy seaport on the Gulf of Mexico with inland waterway access to the Midwest by way of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Port of Mobile is currently the 9th largest by tonnage in the United States.[70] In May 2007, a site north of Mobile was selected by German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp for a $3.7 billion steel production plant, with the promise of 2,700 permanent jobs.[71]

$9 billion is spent annually on "travel related expenses." This figure is used to indicate the extent of tourism.[72]

MontgomeryEdit

Montgomery is Alabama's capital and the second-largest city in the state; much of the city's economy is driven by government jobs. As of January 2011, the city's largest employers were Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, the State of Alabama, and the Montgomery Public Schools. Manufacturing is the third-largest sector of Montgomery's economy, and one of the fastest growing. Large manufacturing employers include Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, Rheem Water Heaters, and Mobis Alabama.[73] The city's Gross Metropolitan Product is $12.15 billion, representing 8.7% of the Gross State Product of Alabama.[74]

TaxesEdit

Alabama levies a 2, 4, or 5 percent personal income tax, depending upon the amount earned and filing status. Taxpayers are not allowed to deduct their federal income tax from their Alabama state tax, but can deduct federal Social Security and Medicare taxes.

The state's general sales tax rate is 4%.[75] The collection rate could be substantially higher, depending upon additional city and county sales taxes. 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 a 11% tax on a meal. 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 also one of the few remaining states that levies a tax on food and medicine. Alabama's income tax on poor working families is among the nation's very highest.[76] 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.[76] Alabama's threshold is the lowest among the 41 states and the District of Columbia with income taxes.[76]

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.[77] Property taxes are the lowest in the United States. 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.

TransportationEdit

Alabama has five major interstate roads that cross it: I-65 runs north–south roughly through the middle of the state; I-59/I-20 travels from the central west border 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 runs east-northeast to the Georgia border, providing a main thoroughfare to Atlanta; and I-10 traverses the southernmost portion of the state, running from west to east through Mobile. Another interstate road, I-22, is currently under construction. When completed around 2012 it will connect Birmingham with Memphis, Tennessee. Several U.S.Highways also pass through the state, such as US 11, US 29, US 31, US 43, US 72, US 78, US 80, US 82, US 84, US 90,US 98, US 231, US 278, US 280, and US 431.

Major airports in Alabama include Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM), Huntsville International Airport (HSV), Dothan Regional Airport (DHN), Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM), Muscle Shoals – Northwest Alabama Regional Airport (MSL), Tuscaloosa Regional Airport (TCL), and Pryor Field Regional Airport (DCU). For rail transport, Amtrak schedules the Crescent, a daily passenger train, running from New York to New Orleans with stops at Anniston, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa.

Water portsEdit

File:Mobile Alabama harbor aerial view.jpg

Water Ports of Alabama, listed from north to south

Port name Location Connected to
Port of Florence Florence/Muscle Shoals, on Pickwick LakeTennessee River
Port of Decatur Decatur, on Wheeler LakeTennessee River
Port of Guntersville Guntersville, on Lake GuntersvilleTennessee River
Port of Birmingham Birmingham, on Black Warrior River Tenn-Tom Waterway
Port of Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa, on Black Warrior RiverTenn-Tom Waterway
Port of Montgomery Montgomery, on Woodruff Lake Alabama River
Port of Mobile Mobile, on Mobile Bay Gulf of Mexico

Law and governmentEdit

File:Alabama state capitol, Montgomery.jpg

State governmentEdit

Main article: Government of Alabama

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 the world's longest constitution and is roughly forty times the length of the U.S. Constitution.[78][79] There is a significant movement to rewrite and modernize Alabama's constitution.[80] This movement is based upon the fact that Alabama's constitution highly centralizes power in Montgomery and leaves practically no power in local hands. Any policy changes proposed around 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 were intentional to codify segregation and racism.

Alabama is divided into three equal 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 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 Attorney General of Alabama, the Alabama Secretary of State, the Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries, the Alabama State Treasurer, and the State Auditor of Alabama.

The judicial branch is responsible for interpreting the Constitution and applying the law in state criminal and civil cases. The highest court is the Supreme Court of Alabama.

Local and county governmentEdit

Template:Alabama County Labelled Map

Alabama has 67 counties. Each county has its own elected legislative branch, usually called the County Commission, which usually also has executive authority in the county. Because of the restraints placed in the Alabama Constitution, all but seven counties (Jefferson, Lee, Mobile, Madison, Montgomery, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa) in the state have little to no home rule. Instead, most counties in the state must lobby the Local Legislation Committee of the state legislature to get simple local policies such as waste disposal to land use zoning.

Alabama is an alcoholic beverage control state; the government holds a monopoly on the sale of alcohol. However, counties can declare themselves "dry"; the state does not sell alcohol in those areas.

Rank County Population
(2010 Census)
Seat Largest City
1 Jefferson 658,466 Birmingham Birmingham
2 Mobile 412,992 Mobile Mobile
3 Madison 334,811 Huntsville Huntsville
4 Montgomery 229,363 Montgomery Montgomery
5 Shelby 195,085 Columbiana Hoover (part)
Alabaster
6 Tuscaloosa 194,656 Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa
7 Baldwin 182,265 Bay Minette Daphne
8 Lee 140,247 Opelika Auburn
9 Morgan 119,490 Decatur Decatur
10 Calhoun 118,572 Anniston Anniston

State politicsEdit

File:Dr. Robert Bentley.png

The current governor of the state is Republican Robert Bentley. The lieutenant governor is Republican Kay Ivey. The Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is Democrat Sue Bell Cobb. 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).

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 known as the Redeemers took control of the state government from the Republicans, in part by suppressing the African American vote.

After 1890, a coalition of whites passed laws to segregate and disenfranchise black residents, a process completed in provisions of the 1901 constitution. Provisions which disfranchised African Americans also disfranchised poor whites, however. By 1941 more whites than blacks had been disfranchised: 600,000 to 520,000, although the impact was greater on the African-American community, as almost all of its citizens were disfranchised.

From 1901 to the 1960s, the Democrat controlled state legislature failed to perform redistricting as population grew and shifted within the state. The result was a rural minority that dominated state politics until a series of court cases required redistricting in 1972.

With the disfranchisement of African Americans, the state became part of the "Solid South", a one-party system in which the Democratic Party became essentially the only 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.

Developments in the 1986 Democratic primary election lead to the election of the first Republican Governor in more than 100 years and started Republicans on the road to political dominance in the state. In that 1986 Democratic primary, in which just over one million voters cast ballots, the then-incumbent Lieutenant Governor, Bill Baxley, lost the Democratic nomination for Governor by approximately 8,000 votes to then fellow Democratic Attorney General Charles Graddick. The state Democratic party's five-member election contest committee invalidated the primary election result claiming that thousands of Republicans had "illegally" voted in the Demcratic primary for Graddick and as a result they removed Graddick from the ballot. The Democratic Party then placed Baxley's name on the ballot as the Democratic candidate instead of Mr. Graddick. The voters of the state revolted at what they perceived as disenfranchisement of their right to vote and elected the Republican challenger Guy Hunt as Governor. Hunt had been nominated in a statewide Republican primary that only had 28,000 participants compared to the 1,000,000 plus of the Democratic primary. That November Hunt became the first Republican Governor elected in Alabama since Reconstruction when he won 57% of the vote statewide against Baxley.

Since 1986, Republicans have won six of the seven Governors elections and become increasingly competitive in Alabama politics at many levels. They currently control both seats in the U.S. Senate and six out of the state's seven congressional seats.

Republicans now hold an 8–1 majority on the Alabama Supreme Court [81] and all ten seats on the state appellate courts. Until 1994, no Republicans held any of the court seats. This change also began, likely in part, due to the same perception by voters of Democratic party efforts to disenfranchise voters again in 1994. In that general election, the then-incumbent Chief Justice of Alabama, Sonny Hornsby, refused to leave office after losing the election by approximately 3,000 votes to Republican Perry Oliver Hooper, Sr. Hornsby sued Alabama in court and defiantly remained in office for more than a year before finally giving up the seat after losing in court. This ultimately would lead to a collaspe of support for Democrats at the ballot box in the next three or four election cycles losing18 of the 19 total court seats.

Today, Republicans also hold all seven of the statewide elected executive branch offices. Republicans also 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.

However, Democrats hold one of the three seats on the Alabama Public Service Commission.[82][83][84] Many local offices in the state are still held by Democrats. Local elections in rural counties are generally decided in the Democratic primary and local elections in metropolitan counties are generally decided in the Republican Primary, although there are exceptions.[85][86] Only two Republican Lieutenant Governors have been elected since Reconstruction, Steve Windom and Kay Ivey Kay Ivey, the current Lieutenant Governor. Windom served as Lt. Governor under Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman. Before 2011, the last time that Alabama had a governor and Lieutenant Governor of the same party was the period between 1983 and 1987 when Wallace was serving his fourth term as governor and Bill Baxley was serving as Lieutenant Governor; both were Democrats.

An overwhelming majority of sheriff's offices in Alabama are in Democratic hands. However, most of the Democratic sheriffs preside over more rural and less populated counties and the majority of Republicans preside over more urban/suburban and more populated counties.[87] Two Alabama counties (Montgomery and Calhoun) with a population of over 100,000 have Democratic sheriffs and five Alabama counties with a population of under 75,000 have Republican sheriffs (Autauga, Coffee, Dale, Coosa, and Blount).[88]

Alabama state politics gained nationwide and international attention in the 1950s and 1960s during the American Civil Rights Movement, when majority whites bureaucratically, and at times, violently resisted protests for electoral and social reform. George Wallace, the state's only four-term governor, remains a notorious and controversial figure. Only with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964[26] and Voting Rights Act of 1965 did African Americans regain suffrage and other civil rights.

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.[89]

In Alabama, the members of the Legislature take office immediately after the November elections, but the statewide officials, such as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and other constitutional offices take office in the following January.[90]

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National politicsEdit

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic State winner
2008 60.32% 1,266,546 38.80% 813,479 John McCain
2004 62.46% 1,176,394 36.84% 693,933 George W. Bush
2000 56.47% 944,409 41.59% 695,602 George W. Bush
1996 50.12% 769,044 43.16% 662,165 Bob Dole
1992 47.65% 804,283 40.88% 690,080 George Bush
1988 59.17% 815,576 39.86% 549,506 George Bush
1984 60.54% 872,849 38.28% 551,899 Ronald Reagan
1980 48.75% 654,192 47.45% 636,730 Ronald Reagan
1976 42.61% 504,070 55.73% 659,170 Jimmy Carter
1972 72.43% 728,701 25.54% 256,923 Richard Nixon
1968* 13.99% 146,923 18.72% 196,579 George Wallace (I)
1964 69.45% 479,085 30.55% 210,732 Barry Goldwater
1960 42.16% 237,981 56.39% 318,303 John F. Kennedy
*State won by George Wallace
of the American Independent Party,
at 65.86%, or 691,425 votes

From 1876 through 1956, Alabama supported only Democratic presidential candidates, by large margins. In 1960, the Democrats won with John F. Kennedy on the ballot, but the Democratic electors from Alabama gave 6 of their 11 electoral votes as a protest to Harry Byrd. In 1964, Republican Barry Goldwater carried the state.

In the 1968 presidential election, Alabama supported native son and American Independent Party candidate George Wallace over both Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. Wallace was the official Democratic candidate in Alabama, while Humphrey was listed as the "National Democratic".[91] In 1976, Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter from Georgia carried the state, the region, and the nation, but Democratic control of the region slipped after that.

Since 1980, conservative Alabama voters have increasingly voted for Republican candidates at the Federal level, especially in Presidential elections. By contrast, Democratic candidates have been elected to many state-level offices and until 2010 comprised a longstanding majority in the Alabama Legislature; see Dixiecrat.

In 2004, George W. Bush won Alabama's nine electoral votes by a margin of 25 percentage points with 62.5% of the vote, mostly white voters. The 11 counties that voted Democratic were Black Belt counties, where African Americans are the majority racial group.

The state's two U.S. senators are Jefferson B. Sessions III and Richard C. Shelby, both Republicans.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, the state is represented by seven members, six of whom are Republicans: (Jo Bonner, Mike D. Rogers, Robert Aderholt, Morris J. Brooks, Martha Roby, and Spencer Bachus) and one Democrat: Terri Sewell). Template:Further

EducationEdit

Main article: Education in Alabama

Primary and secondary educationEdit

Public primary and secondary education in Alabama is under the overview of the Alabama State Board of Education as well as local oversight by 67 county school boards and 60 city boards of education. Together, 1,541 individual schools provide education for 743,364 elementary and secondary students.[92]

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.[92] 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. In 2004, 23 percent of schools met AYP.[93]

While Alabama's public education system has improved, it lags behind in achievement compared to other states. According to U.S. Census data, Alabama's high school graduation rate – 75% – is the second lowest in the United States (after Mississippi).[94] The largest educational gains were among people with some college education but without degrees.[95]

Colleges and universitiesEdit

Main article: List of colleges and universities in Alabama
File:Harrison-plaza2.jpg

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 two medical schools (University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of South Alabama), two veterinary colleges (Auburn University and Tuskegee University), a dental school (University of Alabama at Birmingham), 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. Colleges and universities in Alabama offer degree programs from two-year associate degrees to 16 doctoral level programs.[96]

Accreditation of academic programs is through the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges as well as a plethora of subject focused national and international accreditation agencies.[97]

SportsEdit

Professional sports teamsEdit

Main article: List of professional sports teams in Alabama

Alabama has several minor league professional teams including four minor league baseball teams.

Club City Sport League Venue Notes
Alabama Hammers Huntsville Arena football Southern Indoor Football League Von Braun Center
Birmingham Barons Birmingham Baseball Southern League Regions Park
Huntsville Havoc Huntsville Ice Hockey Southern Professional Hockey League Von Braun Center
Huntsville Stars Huntsville Baseball Southern League Joe W. Davis Stadium
Mobile BayBears Mobile Baseball Southern League Hank Aaron Stadium
Montgomery Biscuits Montgomery Baseball Southern League Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium
Rocket City United Huntsville Soccer National Premier Soccer League Madison City Schools Stadium
Tennessee Valley Tigers Huntsville Football Independent Women's Football League Milton Frank Stadium replaced the Alabama Renegades

Notable AlabamiansEdit

Main article: List of people from Alabama

Cultural sites and eventsEdit

See alsoEdit

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Further readingEdit

For a detailed bibliography, see the History of Alabama.
  • Atkins, Leah Rawls, Wayne Flynt, William Warren Rogers, and David Ward. Alabama: The History of a Deep South State (1994)
  • Flynt, Wayne. Alabama in the Twentieth Century (2004)
  • Owen Thomas M. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography 4 vols. 1921.
  • Jackson, Harvey H. Inside Alabama: A Personal History of My State (2004)
  • Mohl, Raymond A. "Latinization in the Heart of Dixie: Hispanics in Late-twentieth-century Alabama" Alabama Review 2002 55(4): 243–274. ISSN 0002-4341
  • Peirce, Neal R. The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States (1974). Information on politics and economics 1960–72.
  • Williams, Benjamin Buford. A Literary History of Alabama: The Nineteenth Century 1979.
  • WPA. Guide to Alabama (1939)

External linksEdit

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Template:Geographic Location (8-way)

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af:Alabama ang:Alabama ar:ألاباما an:Alabama arc:ܐܠܒܐܡܐ frp:Alabama ast:Alabama az:Alabama bn:আলাবামা zh-min-nan:Alabama be:Штат Алабама bcl:Alabama bi:Alabama bo:ཨ་ལ་པ་མ། bs:Alabama br:Alabama (stad) bg:Алабама ca:Alabama cv:Алабама (штат) cs:Alabama co:Alabama cy:Alabama da:Alabama de:Alabama nv:Élábéemah Hahoodzo et:Alabama el:Αλαμπάμα es:Alabama eo:Alabamo eu:Alabama fa:آلاباما fo:Alabama fr:Alabama fy:Alabama ga:Alabama gv:Alabama gd:Alabama gl:Alabama frr:Alabama gag:Alabama gu:અલાબામા hak:Â-lâ-pâ-mâ ko:앨라배마 주 haw:‘Alapama hy:Ալաբամա (նահանգ) hi:अलाबामा hr:Alabama io:Alabama ig:Alabama bpy:আলাবামা id:Alabama ia:Alabama ie:Alabama iu:ᐋᓛᐹᒫ/aalaapaamaa ik:Alabama os:Алабамæ (штат) is:Alabama it:Alabama he:אלבמה jv:Alabama kn:ಅಲಬಾಮ pam:Alabama ka:ალაბამა (შტატი) kw:Alabama sw:Alabama ht:Alabama ku:Alabama lad:Alabama la:Alabama lv:Alabama lb:Alabama (Bundesstaat) lt:Alabama lij:Alabamm-a li:Alabama jbo:alybamas lmo:Alabama hu:Alabama mk:Алабама mg:Alabama ml:അലബാമ mi:Alabama mr:अलाबामा arz:الاباما ms:Alabama mwl:Alabama mn:Алабама nah:Alabama nl:Alabama nds-nl:Alabama ja:アラバマ州 nap:Alabama no:Alabama nn:Alabama oc:Alabama uz:Alabama pnb:الاباما pap:Alabama pms:Alabama nds:Alabama pl:Alabama pt:Alabama ro:Alabama rm:Alabama qu:Alabama suyu ru:Алабама sah:Алабама sq:Alabama scn:Alabama simple:Alabama sk:Alabama sl:Alabama szl:Alabama ckb:ئەلاباما sr:Алабама sh:Alabama fi:Alabama sv:Alabama tl:Alabama ta:அலபாமா tt:Алабама te:అలబామా th:รัฐแอละแบมา tr:Alabama uk:Алабама ur:الاباما ug:Alabama Shitati vi:Alabama vo:Alabama war:Alabama yi:אלאבאמא yo:Ipinle Alabama diq:Alabama bat-smg:Alabama

zh:亚拉巴马州

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