State of Alabama, USA

Alabama, USA. September 16, 2012: Travelling through Louisiana and Florida, USA. (c) 2012 - photography by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid, Thomas Baurley, technogypsie.com. To purchase this photo or to seek permission to use, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/?tcp_product_category=photo For more information visit: Alabama: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5089 (Expected Publication November 2012) http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ For travel tales, visit: http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/
Alabama, USA. September 16, 2012: Travelling through Louisiana and Florida, USA. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid, Thomas Baurley, technogypsie.com.

Alabama, United States of America
more information: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5089

Ah the memories of Alabama. I spent many a road trip across this intriguing “Heart of Dixie” state. It is close to the heart of the Bible Belt and the root of Southeastern culture, or so most Alabamans would think. There is however quite an alternative side to the redneck infested conservative Bible-thumping W.A.S.P. visualization of Alabama that is usually depicted by those outside of Alabama’s state line. It is also called the “Yellowhammer State” after the state bird. It is also known as the Cotton State. The State tree is the Long leaf Pine, the state flower is the Camellia, the capital is Montgomery, the largest city is Birmingham, and the oldest city is Mobile. To the north is Tennessee, to the East is Georgia and Florida, Mississippi to the West, and the Gulf of Mexico to the South. It is the 30th largest land-mass state with the 23rd largest population in the U.S.A. Alabama also has one of the longest navigable inland waterways in the States measuring approximately 1,300 miles. Alabama culture takes a lot of influence from the days of the Civil War, after which suffered extreme economic hardships until World War II. Poverty and lack of support for its agricultural production from 1901 to the 1960’s really affected the region. Exclusion of minorities in voting suffered the state until changes were made in the 1980s. After WWII the economic growth increased from agriculture to diversified interests especially with expansion of numerous military bases making Alabama more industrial. Economy began to focus on management, finance, aerospace, automotive, manufacture, mineral extraction, healthcare, education, retail, and tech.

Ancestry/Ethnicity/Cultural:
Alabama was a pivotal location from Gulf coast indigenous tribes until European settlers migrated to the area. Alabama in a Western sense was first founded by French colonies. Today, Alabama is primarily 67% White, 5.4% Hispanic, 26.2% African American, 1.1% Asian, .6% American Indian, .1% Native Hawaiian/Islander, 2% Other Race, and 1.5% from Two or more races according to 2011 Census statistics. Ancestry roots have been estimated at 26.2% African American, 23.6% English, 7.7% Irish, 5.7% German, and 2% Scots-Irish, though in reality most of the White Western influence is from British ancestry, though demographers claim this is only 20-23% in reality albeit Alabama whites identify with English Ancestry when asked (41%) and demographers claim most of those have Scots-Irish origins being more predominant than reported by themselves. Of the Scots-Irish, most were likely Protestant Scots-Irish coming from Northern Ireland as being the largest non-English immigrant group coming from the British Isles before the American Revolution. By 1984 the Davis-Strong Act was established creating the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission to help protect from discrimination, racial segregation, and to create respect – after a long history of being lumped into the binary categorization as “black” in the Alabama black-and-white world. There are Nine Civilized Tribes of the American Southeast – the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, Star Clan of Muscogee Creeks, Ehota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama, and the Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians, Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe, Piqua Shawnee Tribe, and the Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation. Alabama gets a bad wrap sometimes as being extremely racist and bigoted as it is still believed that there is a great suspicion of and dislike for Northerners as Southerners are considered to be more conservative and conventionally oriented that someone who looks different than the mass may be responded to with hostility whether it be race, culture, dress, or appearance. The sub-culture of rednecks, often uneducated country folk who tend to be racist, opinionated, violent, and if drunk often to attack or insult others. The KKK is still very active in Alabama. Overall Southerners are very amicable and generous, courteous and civil with great respect to elders and to help their neighbor.

Mobile, Alabama. Driving around the Gulf of Mexico.  Photos from Tuesday, 10 September 2013.  (c) 2013 - photo by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions (www.technogypsie.com/photography/).
Mobile, Alabama. Driving around the Gulf of Mexico. Photos from Tuesday, 10 September 2013. (c) 2013 – photo by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid, Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions (www.technogypsie.com/photography/). Purchase rights and/or permissions to use can be obtained at site listed here. To follow the adventure, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/. To read reviews visit http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/.

Alternative Culture/Sites/Projects/Shops:
Contrary to popular belief, Alabama is actually quite diverse, possessing alternative culture that is often only found in the Northeast and the West Coast, has many odd wacky art sites and exhibits, and counter-culture movements even though most of these are not so apparent in the public eye. Some of the multi-cultural and sub-cultural variations in Alabama come from their major universities of Auburn and the University of Alabama.

Mobile, Alabama, USA. September 16, 2012: Travelling through Louisiana and Florida, USA. (c) 2012 - photography by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid, Thomas Baurley, technogypsie.com. To purchase this photo or to seek permission to use, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/?tcp_product_category=photo For more information visit: Alabama: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5089 (Expected Publication November 2012) http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ For travel tales, visit: http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/
Mobile, Alabama, USA. September 16, 2012: Travelling through Louisiana and Florida, USA. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid, Thomas Baurley, technogypsie.com. To purchase this photo or to seek permission to use, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/?tcp_product_category=photo
For more information visit:
Alabama: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5089 (Expected Publication November 2012)
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

Cities:
A full list of cities and towns can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_and_towns_in_Alabama

   

Climate:
Alabama is primarily a humid sub-tropical zone according to the Koppen Climate Classification and Wikipedia. It averages around 64 °F (18 °C) being warmer around the Gulf and cooler in the Appalachian Mountains. Summers are very hot and winters are very mild. Rain falls throughout the year keeping Alabama damp and green with average rainfall annual of 56 inches. Summer temperatures average over 90 °F (32 °C). Alabama is notorious for tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms. The number of hurricanes compare with that of Florida, and the number of tornadoes compare that with Oklahoma having their own tornado “Dixie Alley”. Snow is rare even though winter temperatures average around 40 °F (4 °C) in Mobile and around 32 °F (0 °C) in Birmingham. Alabama’s highest temperature was 112 °F (44 °C) recorded on September 5, 1925. The record low of ?27 °F (?33 °C) occurred on January 30, 1966 in New Market.

Economy/Industry:
Alabama thrives from aerospace, education, health care, banking, automobile manufacture, mineral extraction, steel production and fabrication industry. Agriculture is still a lifeblood industry for the region focusing on farming, fishing, and forestry.

Mobile, Alabama, USA. September 16, 2012: Travelling through Louisiana and Florida, USA. (c) 2012 - photography by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid, Thomas Baurley, technogypsie.com. To purchase this photo or to seek permission to use, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/?tcp_product_category=photo For more information visit: Alabama: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5089 (Expected Publication November 2012) http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/ For travel tales, visit: http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/
Mobile, Alabama, USA. September 16, 2012: Travelling through Louisiana and Florida, USA. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid, Thomas Baurley, technogypsie.com. To purchase this photo or to seek permission to use, go to http://www.technogypsie.com/photography/?tcp_product_category=photo
For more information visit:
Alabama: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=5089 (Expected Publication November 2012)
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

Geography:
The 30th largest land-mass state in the U.S with over 52,419 square miles of terrain. 3.2% of Alabama is water and home to the second-largest inland waterway system in the USA. Alabama is bordered by Tennessee in the North, Georgia to the East, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the South, and Mississippi to the West. Most of the state is mountainous with the Tennessee River cutting a large valley through the state, and creating numerous drainages, streams, rivers, creeks, and lakes. Alabama once had large expanses of pine forests and ranks 5th in the US for plant diversity and over 62 mammal species, 93 reptile species, 73 amphibian species, over 300 native freshwater fish species, and over 420 bird species, 83 crayfish species, and 383 mollusk species.

Geology/Landscape:A Natural Bridge rock, the longest east of the Rockies lives in Alabama. There is also a 5-mile wide meteor crater in Elmore County north of Montgomery called the Wetumpka Crater – a site of Alabama’s greatest natural disaster measuring 1000 foot wide and impacted over 80 million years ago.

History:

Alabama was a popular location for the original inhabitants of the Americas, being a threshold of activity and habitation for thousands of years before Europeans arrived on the scene. The Native Americans built enormous mounds in this area and had an incredible system of trade with tribes in the Northwest by means of the Ohio River. This trade route was accredited to the Burial Mound Period (ca. 1000 BCE – 700 CE) towards contact. The infamous “Moundville Archaeological Site” is located in Moundville, Alabama which was occupied by Indigenous peoples from the Mississippian culture from 1000 CE to 1450 CE and stood as one of the major centers for this cultural period. This is the second-largest complex of classic Middle Mississippian era civilization just after Cahokia in Illinois. Archaeological studies here influenced the characterization of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex which while sharing common attributes with Meso-American culture, was independent within its own accord, and is one of the focal points of our understanding about religion during this period. Native Americans inhabiting this area around European contact were the Alibamu, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Koasati, all of whom share common language family traits of the Muskogean language family are distinct independent cultures with their own languages, most of who are still in Alabama today.

Europeans came onto the scene during the 16th century with the Spanish being the first Europeans to arrive on these shores. Hernando de Soto’s expedition passed through Alabama, and most of his recorded activity was in the area of modern day Mobile, Alabama (earlier known as “Mabila”) in 1540. In 1702 the French founded the first European settlement in the region that was once known as “Old Mobile” which in 1711 was relocated to where present day Mobile exists today. Area was claimed by France from 1702-1763 as part of “La Louisiane”. As early as 1767 the Province of Georgia claimed most of the area we now know as “Alabama” and many labelled the area at this time as the Yazoo lands. The “Yazoo lands” were officially added to the Mississippi Territory in 1804 following what was known as the “Yazoo land scandal” where Spain kept a claim on its former Spanish West Florida Territory to what would become the coastal counties until the Adams-Onis Treaty ceded it to the U.S. in 1819. This territory lasted through the Revolutionary War as part of Georgia. During the Seven Years War, France lost the territory to the British and the region where Alabama now resides became part of British West Florida from 1763-1783 until the surrender of the Spanish Garrison at Mobile to U.S. forces occurred on April 13, 1813. One of the earliest white settlers of the area, Thomas Bassett, a British monarchy loyalist during the Revolutionary Era had settled in the Tombigbee district in the early 1770s as his place of refuge. Spanish West Florida took a lot of the eastern territory in 1783 as part of the Republic of West Florida in 1810 but by 1812 was added to the Mississippi period. When Mississippi was added as a state in 1817 the more sparsely settled eastern half of this territory was separated and called the “Alabama Territory” with St. Stephens as its territorial capital from 1817-1819.

In 1819 Congress selected Huntsville as the site for the first Constitutional Convention of Alabama just after being approved as the 22nd state, making Huntsville the temporary capital of Alabama from 1819 to 1820. In 1820 it was moved to Cahaba that became the Capital from 1820-1825. After a steady flow of settlers came to the area to set up cotton cultivation farms from the 1820s – 1830s changing population dynamics the capital moved to Tuscaloosa. Tuscaloosa was capital of Alabama from 1826-1846. Both St. Stephens and Cahaba are now ghost towns. During the 1820’s Alabama’s constitution provided for universal suffrage for white men. Southeastern traders from the Upper South brought numerous slaves into the area to work the cotton plantations expanding Alabama’s industry substantially and attracting many poor disfranchised people here who became subsistence farmers. The 1810 population of 10,000 residents increased to over 300,000 by 1830. Native Americans were completely removed from the State by passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In 1846 the capital was moved again this time to Montgomery.

By 1860 Alabama had 964,201 residents half of which were African American slaves and only 2,690 free people of color. 1861 Alabama succeeded from the Union and remained an independent republic for a few days until it joined the Confederate States of AMerica and became heavily involved in the American Civil War contributing over 120,000 soldiers to the battle. In 1865 the 13th Amendment demanded freeing all slaves in the State and Alabama remained under military rule until May 1865. It was officially restored to the Union in 1868. From 1867-1874 white citizens were barred from voting allowing African Americans an ability to emerge as political leaders in the State. During this period there were 3 African-American congressmen: Jeremiah Haralson, Benjamin S. Turner, and James T. Rapier. Alabama’s industry continued with cotton. By 1868 the state’s first public school system was established as well as the expansion of women’s rights. Numerous insurgent resistance groups were established to try to bring down the freedmen and Republicans, some of which were notoriously known as the Ku Klux Klan, Pale Faces, Knights of the White Camellia, Red shirts, and the White League. Alabama was reconstructed in 1874 when Democrats regained control of the legislature writing another constitution in 1875 passing the Blaine Amendment prohibiting public money from being used to finance religious affiliated schools, approved racially segregated schools. In 1891 laws were passed allowing segregation in Railroad passenger cars. By the 1901 constitution severe segegration measures were incorporated disfranchising most African Americans and poor whites especially through voting registration regulations requiring poll taxes and literacy tests to vote.

In 1903 only 2,980 African Americans were registered to vote in the state compared to the 181,000 that were registered in 1900. In 1901 the constitution required segregation of public schools, and made interracial marriage illegal again. By 1911 jails were segregated, 1915 hospitals were segregated, 1928 toilets, hotesl, and restaurants were segregated and 1945 bus stop waiting rooms. Taxes from African Americans went to fund white schools leaving many African American schools in ruin. African Americans taxed themselves twice to match funds to rebuild their schools. Alabama sunk into a period of racial discrimination involving agricultural depression, lynchings, and social complexity. Cotton crops failed due to boll weevil infestations causing migrations out of the state dropping its population in half from 1910-1920. Some migrants went to Birmingham to work in new industrial jobs giving the city a new nickname as “The Magic City” and the 19th largest city in the U.S. with over 30% of the state’s population residing there. In the 1940s courts took the first steps to recognized voting rights of African Americas in the U.S. Alabama responded with its own legislature to create counter-steps to disfranchise black voters. Alabama was found to be in violation of the 15th Amendment. Industrial developments associated with world war II brought prosperity to the region increasing populations of larger cities and increasing standards of living.

From 1940-1943 over 89,000 people moved into Mobile for war-related industries. The “one man, one vote” institution of 1964 began a route of fair voting practices into inception as Alabama sought to become closer to the rest of the U.S. The Civil Rights movement had notable events in the State including the Montgomery Bus Boycott 1955-1956, Freedom Rides in 1961 and 1965 Selma to Montgomery Marches that contributed to Congressional passage and enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Acts of 1965 by U.S. Congress. Legal Segregation in the U.S. was illegal by 1964 but still was rampant in Alabama for much longer. By 1972 the legislature completed the first congressional redistricting based on the decennial census benefiting urban areas and those who were under-representated over the last 60 years assisting African American to gain equality.

Natural Parks, State Parks:
Alabama has several National Park Service properties including 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. Alabama has four National Forests: Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead and is also home to the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Selma To Montgomery National Historic Trail, and the Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail as well as the notable natural wonder called “Natural Bridge” rock, the longest natural bridge east of the Rockies.

  • DeSoto Caverns (Childesburg) http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22999

    Sites to See:

    • Alabama Museum of Natural History: (Tuscaloosa) features the Hodges Meteorite that had a cameo in the famous film “Fried Green Tomatoes” at the Whistle Stop Cafe. On November 30th, 1954 a large meteorite fell through the roof a a Sylacauga home striking Ann Hodges being recorded as the first known object to fall from the sky and hit a person. A legal battle occurred afterwards on who had rights to the meteorite, the Hodges family or the landlord. It has since been placed in the Natural History Museum. This meteor combined with the 1833 Leonid meteor shower became the inspiration for the song “Stars Fell on Alabama.”

    State Symbols, Mottos, Animals, Icons:

    Coming Soon.

    Please visit again soon, this research project is currently being updated and more content/photos will be added soon.

    Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


    • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
    • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
    • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
    • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
    • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
    • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
    • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
    • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
    • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
      Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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