December 14 – Alabama Day

Posted on December 14, 2015

Today Alabama celebrates becoming a state of the U.S. on this date in 1819.

Before it was a state, it was “Alabama Territory.” It is #22 of the 50 states.

This amazing park statue reminds
people of a time known for police dog
attacks on people of color.
It's sort of hard to celebrate so much of the history of Alabama, because it is marked with slavery and Civil War, and then horrible segregation, plus disenfranchisement of, discrimination toward, and even lynching of black people. All those long words mean that white, wealthy, powerful people in Alabama worked hard to make sure that most black people had a hard time getting adequate education, getting access to jobs, being able to vote, or even staying safe. Black people were all-too-often beaten, terrorized, and killed.

Of course, Alabama is also where a lot of amazing and brave Civil Rights Movement events happened. From the Montgomery Bus Boycott, in 1955, to the Freedom Rides in 1961, and the marches from Selma to Montgomery, there were stirring victories for peaceful demonstrations and non-violent civil disobedience!

Aside from these courageous Civil Rights actions, here are a few of my favorite things in Alabama:

Russell Cave is a wonderful archaeological site that helps us learn about North American inhabitants from as long ago as 10,000 B.C.! And, it's not just a super-ancient site; apparently it provides evidence about people's daily lives all the way up to 1650 C.E. (also known as 1650 A.D.)!

Dismals Canyon is unusual – it is a National Natural Landmark, under the National Park Service, but it is privately owned an operated as a Natural Conservancy. I believe that is so that it can be kept as unspoiled as possible.

The waterfalls are gorgeous, but the really special thing happens at night, when the canyon lights up with bioluminescent insect larva called dismalites.

And of course, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, with Space Camp, which is sometimes called “Earth's largest space museum.” I've been to the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida – and THAT'S amazing! But I'd love to go to Alabama's space museum as well!

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the first humans to reach South Pole

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