What part of Alabama is Birmingham in

History in Alabama

Alabama's battlefields tell of the American Civil War, which put an end to the construction of splendid southern mansions and slave labor. The state also played a prominent role in the civil rights movement.

Montgomery, Selma or Birmingham invite you to travel back in time to the 1950s and 60s - three cities that were at the forefront of the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and all the other brave people of this sustainable era already wore their pavement. And last but not least, Alabama is home to numerous music legends, including the "King of Country Music" Hank Williams and the "Father of the Blues" W.C. Mobile.


When coal, iron ore and limestone - the three raw materials for iron and steel - were discovered under Birmingham in the 19th century, there was no stopping them. What was just an agricultural small town quickly turned into the industrial powerhouse of the southern states. The money flowed in streams, and with it came tens of thousands who wanted to get rich quickly in the "magic city". The steel fortune of the city came to an abrupt end in the 1960s with the decline of the coal and steel industry - at a time when racist tensions were also increasing. Birmingham became a focal point for the civil rights movement. The megacity documents in the museum of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute how the civil rights movement enforced the abolition of the legal racial segregation non-violently. Only a few meters away is the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which gained notoriety after a racially motivated bomb attack in which four young girls died. Sculptures in Kelly Ingram Park across the street are a lifelike reminder of water cannons and dogs that were used against peaceful demonstrators, including many children. In the meantime, Birmingham has flourished economically a second time: with new industries, including medical facilities, which are among the best in the world.


Southern politicians gathered in the Montgomery State Capitol in 1861, founded the Confederate States of America, elected Jefferson Davis as its president, and made Montgomery its capital. Their telegram to Washington announcing the split was one of the last few impulses for the outbreak of the American Civil War. The black seamstress Rosa Parks wrote great history in a completely different way almost 100 years later. She refused to vacate a seat on the city bus that was reserved for whites, thus kicking off the civil rights movement. The Rosa Parks Museum of the city is dedicated to her person and the far-reaching consequences of her courageous actions. The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail marks the path that the human rights activists took during the legendary March marches from Selma to Montgomery to finally reach the State Capitol on March 21, 1965 after two attempts that were violently stopped by racists. One block from the Capitol is Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King was preaching back then, and his home. Both buildings are open to visitors. The Legacy Museum, opened by the EJI in 2018, is dedicated to the tragic history of racial inequality. A few blocks away, the also new National Memorial for Peace and Justice commemorates the victims of lynching in the southern United States between 1877 and 1950.


A very significant milestone on the way to legal equality for black citizens in 20th century America can be found at the Tuskegee Human & Civil Rights Multicultural Center. The former flight school impresses with the story of its legendary "Tuskegee Airmen". The men were the first African-American US military pilots in World War II and gained great recognition for their outstanding achievements and their courage to die.


The famous Peace Marches on Montgomery started from Selma in March 1965. Their 90-kilometer route on the U.S. Highway 80 is listed as a National Historic Trail. Halfway there is a visit to the Lowndes County Interpretive Center: the place where the protesters camped on their way. In Selma itself, the Edmund Winston Pettus Bridge is the place where the first march, led by Martin Luther King, was broken off after counter-demonstrators had massively attacked the group. The National Voting Rights Museum documents the full history of these marches.


In Huntsville, Wernher von Braun and his team of engineers wrote space history. The Saturn V rocket they developed brought Neil Armstrong and Co safely to the moon and back in 1969. The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is the world's largest space museum. The centerpiece of the exhibition is an original Saturn V lunar rocket, which has the hall with other amazing artifacts such as the capsule of the Apollo 16 mission, a moon buggy, moon rocks, astronaut suits, etc. Splits.


The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center in Scottsboro, Northern Alabama tells the tragic story of nine young black men who were falsely accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931. In several court cases, all-white juries found the young men guilty. The verdict sparked national protests. Eventually, one of the women confessed to being pressured by racists and coerced into giving false testimony. The case went to the US Supreme Court in 1937. Prosecutors dropped the rape allegations against five of the men. The other four were initially sentenced again. It took almost 20 years for the last defendant to be released from prison. The museum is part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.


The Louisiana territory of the French king once stretched across the central part of what is now the United States and up the Mississippi. The first governor's seat was on Dauphin Island in Alabama, and Mobile, the first capital, was built nearby. The first Mardi Gras on US soil took place in this port city and is still celebrated there. A few miles to the north, the Historic Blakeley Historic State Park marks the field where the Confederates marched, hours after General Robert Lee's surrender of the southern states in the final great battle of the already lost Civil War.

Coming Soon: In 2018, the wreck of a schooner was found at the bottom of the Mobile River near Africatown, a district of Mobile. In 2019, renowned scientists confirmed that these were the remains of the Clotilda, the last known slave ship in the USA. The Clotilda could not be saved due to its poor condition. By the time the ship reached Alabama in 1860, the transatlantic slave trade had been banned for over 50 years. After the captain had illegally smuggled 110 men, women and children from Africa into the country, he set the Clotilda on fire to cover up his crime and let it sink into one of the five rivers that feed Mobile Bay. The civil war ended slavery in 1865. Some of the displaced came back to their place of arrival and founded Africatown. Many descendants of the Clotilda still live in this place today and pass the story on from generation to generation. In December 2020, the city of Mobile announced plans to develop Africatown for tourism. As a first step, the Heritage Center in Africatown will open at the end of 2021, whose multimedia exhibition tells the story of the Clodilda and Africatowns.


Tom‘s Wall is a memorial on the Trail of Tears describing the forcible displacement of Native Americans from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida in the 19th century. Tom Hendrix built this stone wall in honor of his great-great-grandmother, who - sharing her fate with around 125,000 others - was deported to Oklahoma. Homesickness for the "singing" rivers of Alabama motivated her to walk all the way back later. Each stone is hand-laid and represents a step that the young woman took on this journey. Tom Hendrix created one of the longest walls in the world without any mortar.