Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama, with about 1,200,000 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Named after the city of the same name in the United Kingdom, Birmingham was founded in 1871 at a railroad junction near where the downtown area is now located.
The city grew rapidly due to the abundance of mineral reserves in the surrounding area. Iron and steel production made Birmingham a leading industrial center of the South, and gave rise to the nickname "Pittsburgh of the South."
The Great Depression severely affected Birmingham's economy, which continued to suffer up until the last few decades, when a shift toward a service economy turned the city's fortunes around.
Durng the 1950s and 1960s, Birmingham was in the national and international spotlight as a center of the civil rights struggle.
Nowadays, Birmingham is a pleasant city with a lot of cultural and historical attractions for visitors to see and experience. Nature lovers will find plenty to do as well, since Birmingham is situated among rolling hills which rise in successively higher ridges toward the south. These forest-covered ridges offer opportunities for outdoor activities and provide scenic views over the metropolitan area.
Watch out for fire ants and snakes. In-laws lived there and I woke up in the morning to find a rattler in the chair out in the carport (Most homes in Alabama and the south region for that matter do not have garages they have what appear to be a full garage without a door, therefore a carport).
Fondest memory: Leaving
As a child I went to the Space Center in Huntsville (Rocket City) as well as Monte Sano State Park. I'd definitely recommend it, although I am sure the Space center changed quite a bit since I was a child. It is probably much better than I remember, but it left a lasting impression on me.
Here is the website and address for the Space Center:
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
One Tranquility Base
Huntsville, AL 35805
Fondest memory: The friendly people, warm weather, misty mountains and of course, the rockets at the Space center.
Huntsville is one of the most beautiful small cities in Alabama. The city of 180,000 has the highest per capita income in the South, even surpassing that of Atlanta. It is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the South.
An early pioneer, John Hunt, built a cabin next to a spring in the Tennessee Valley in 1805. It was not long before a town began to grow up around his cabin. By 1819, Huntsville was the largest town in the Alabama Territory.
Hunstville became the center of the cotton industry in the Tennessee Valley and northern Alabama. Planters from Virginia and the Carolinas moved into Huntsville and built magnificent town homes in the city, which now form the basis of Huntsville's three Historic Districts.
In 1950, Senator John Sparkman brought a group of German rocket scientists, including Werhner von Braun, to the nearby Redstone Arsenal to develop rockets for the United States Army. By the end of the decade, the team had developed the rocket which put America's first satellite into orbit. The work done in Huntsville eventually led to advancements in space exploration and putting a man on the moon.
The space program carried out in Huntsville gave rise to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Alabama's number one tourist attraction. In addition, the influx of engineers, scientists, and other technicians from all over the world transformed a small town into a cosmopolitan community.
Favorite thing: Hahaha Charles (my bro-in-law) and I walk to the gas station and asked a trucker guy if we could sit in his truck and take a picture. The trucker was a very kind man and allowed me to take a picture. While I sat in his truck I noticed alot of gages and switches.
Favorite thing: Where I live its a little town, alot of truck stops here because of the interstate highway. There are alot of gas stations that service to the big 18 wheelers. I can remember when I was younger when we would travel we'd do the motion to the truckers to honk there horns.
In 1959 the Camellia was named the official state flower of Alabama, and since 1999, it has been more specfically designated to be the variety Camellia japonica L, of the more than 240 subspecies that are known. The camellia replaced the goldenrod which served as Alabama's State Flower from 1927 - 1959.
A woody evergreen shrub and a member of the tea family, the camellia blooms from fall to early spring, and throughout the winter during periods of mild weather. The blossoms come in various shades and patterns of red, pink and white.
The camellia originated in the orient, but has found a perfect home in the climate of the deep southern United States. The flowers in this photo were found growing in front of the Alabama State Capitol building in Montgomery.
It seems many are becoming more interested in Native American religions, shamanism, symbolism and cultures these days as a way to relieve their ennui. And there are always those who like to collect dreamcatchers, sport feathers in their hair, buy bead jewelry, wear t-shirts and moccasins of Native American design, but for those similar myself it is more than just a hobby, passing fad or novelty, it is our way of life and history. It is a way that we are struggling to keep alive and pass on to our children. We respect all who are geniunely interested in such things, and ask for respect in return for our traditions. Undertanding that we promote not separatism in the slighest, but an intergration of past life into present and future life.
Many tribes currently near oblivion not regarding numbers or blood, but because teaching of the old ways, the oral histories are being forgotten, not passed along. But it is a similar plight in many countries these days, the indigenous peoples being sucked into the whirlwind of globalization. We will continue doing what we can to balance this, teaching the histories, dances, drumming, handicrafts, religions and beliefs at least as an option to our children and anyone who wishes to learn.
Native American Education classes take place regularly in most counties in Alabama, involving the public school systems. Those with Native blood can be enrolled for "breakaway" classes given by a certified teacher. One has but to fill out the form, and provide data needed for records concerning genealogy.
Throughout the US for grade school level up to high school, then especially at university one can specialize in Native American studies.
Fondest memory: For more information, check the link Native American Resources, which contains several more regarding statistical and tribal directories/information, state by state listing of tribes; artwork and handicrafts, educations, histories and famous personages relating to Native Americans.
When the French established a settlement almost 150 years later at 27-mile Bluff near modern Mobile they found a decimated peoples. Numbers were slow to arise again, this time it was the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Cherokee peoples who arose to become nations. Yet again conflict and warfare would arise over land. They would be crushed between Europeans influences and the new Americans struggling to control the land.
The 1800s were a hard time, battle after battle, ill feelings and ill deeds on each side until the US decided no more. They forced all natives in the southeast westward to Oklahoma in the "Trail of Tears". Unfairly, they took the Peoples lands, killed or imprisoned those who would not go, dividing families and clans. Ironically enough, they brought Native Americans from the west like the Chiricahua and Mescalero Apaches back across the country east to be settled on reservations in Florida, land which had been taken from the Seminole people who had been sent west. How purposeless is that? The famous leader Geronimo was imprisoned in Alabama for a time, while others of his people were then sent to Oklahoma. His son is buried at Magnolia cemetary in Mobile along with many others.
Some Native Americans managed to remain in the southeast area. Many are descended from these ones. Bloodlines are mixed. Still there is a searching going on for family members or records. Of my family, earliest oral histories were from the mid 1800´s, our clan, the Bird clan and my grandfather´s family were divided. Some sent west, some hid, remaining in south Tennessee and north Alabama areas. In the early 1900s some of the clan who had lived in Oklahoma returned to Alabama, intermarrying with other tribal members. So we have a mix of Echota Cherokee, Apache and Choctaw in our family. Many people are not so lucky as we to have documents, names and dates to prove their lineage. A shame one has to.
Fondest memory: Reparation is a sore subject to many people. In fact, on this website, some very vocal, non-Native people (of course) have protested loudly against such practices. I do not agree that one should not be given reparation in documented, extreme cases of injustice in the past, but history, is, after all, just that. Many things have happened both sides, we must remember, but let ill feelings die. That is the way of the People, and the natural cycle of birth and dead that we all must live by no matter color, background, ethnics or beliefs.
Some places to visit in Alabama to learn more are:
The Moundville Archaeological Park, Highway 69, Moundville 205-371-2234
The Alabama Museum of Natural History, UA Campus, Smith Hall, Tuscaloosa 205-348-7550
Russell Cave National Monument, 3729 County Road 98, Bridgeport, Alabama 256-495-2673
Alabama State Dept. of Archives and History, 624 Washington Avenue, montgomery 334-242-4435
Indigenous peoples had lived in the southeast back to 10,000 B.C. archaelogical records show. At places like Russell Cave, the huge cave near Bridgeport, Alabama that is a National Monument first excavated in 1953, findings date back at least 9,000 years of habitation shown by artifacts used by the semi-nomadic hunter/gatherers.
First contact recorded by Europeans was through Hernando De Soto and his men in 1540, the brutal ones who had plundered the Incas in Peru, brought terrible diseases which the Peoples had no immunity against, destroyinging whole tribes. It is not exactly known De Soto´s route, but excavation suggests he crossed the southeastern tip of Alabama north through the Coosa area then into Georgia. He left a long line of Native American dead.
Fondest memory: The Native American Pow-wows and celebrations, the festivals which take place often throughout the year.
Favorite thing: Alabama comes from a Choctaw word, "alba-plant or weeds", combined with amo-"to cut or trim", which means collectively thicket clearers" or "those who clear the land". There was also a tribe know as the Alabamas, who were part of the Creek nation, who lived near the river Alabama between Tallapoosa and Coosa. You will find many words in the South US, names of towns, rivers, areas, mountains which are actually Native American derived. In fact, across much of North America, it will be so. Though you might never see any of the People themselves.
Favorite thing: Alabama seems to have a way with it's scrap iron and using every last piece ... it's called resourceful. After seeing an iron pig for 6 years straight, it was refreshing to see a different farm animal down the road ... (Between Montgomery and Dothan)
Also in Anniston, the Berman Museum of World History has over 3,000 objects related to world history. There are five galleries:
1. Berman Gallery
2. Arts of Asia
3. Deadly Beauty
4. World War I and II
5. American West
Fondest memory: Address:
840 Museum Drive
Anniston, AL 36201
At the Anniston Museum of Natural History, seven exhibit halls offer the wilds of Africa, the wonders of the North American wilderness, and the mysteries of 2,000 year old mummies. Open air exhibits put you face to face with animals. The birds' habitats exhibits are the oldest in the country.
Fondest memory: Address:
800 Museum Drive
Anniston, AL 36207
In Montgomery you have the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum.
The Fitzgerald Museum is located in the house where they lived. Many of the exhibits pertain to Zelda since she was born and raised in Montgomery. But there is F. Scott Fotzgerald memorabilia as well.
Fondest memory: The museum is at 919 Felder Avenue
the original battle house hotel was built on the site of general andrew jackson's headquarters...more
This is a nice hotel in a very nice part of town. I originally planned to stay at an airport hotel...more
the drury inn & suites is a very good moderately priced hotel located south of downtown. the drury...more