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Alabama Colleges

Alabama Colleges

 

Alabama has for many years stood as a symbol of the "old South," principally because of the never-say-die segregationist policies of Governor George Wallace and the equally tenacious civil rights movement led in Montgomery by Dr. Martin Luther King and others.  Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat in Alabama, in 1954.  The Montgomery civil rights marches and resultant police brutality shocked the nation and galvanized Attorney General Robert Kennedy into action that would forever change the face of Alabama in particular and civil rights in general.  Three years later the southern President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act.

 

For all of that, Alabama was one of the states that led the southern economic recovery when it finally got under way in the late 19th century.  The city became a rail hub and trade center for the "New South" of the early 20th century. Birmingham became a steel producing center with the nickname of the "Pittsburgh of the South."  The Bessemer steel furnace and production method was invented in Bessemer Alabama and was a quantum leap forward for the industry.  In 1979, Birmingham elected its first black mayor.

 

Birmingham today is a city of nearly three hundred thousand with a diversified economy that includes textiles, auto and airplane production.  There are a number of higher education facilities there with the University of Alabama Medical Center among them, recognized as a leading medical teaching and research center throughout the country.

 

Alabama is still a strong agricultural state with about half its land mass devoted to crop and food production.   It has a strong poultry industry to go with its cotton production, still the number one agricultural crop.  Next to Georgia, the state has the largest contiguous stretch of forested land among the fifty states; accordingly, lumber and pulp production are major industries.  Electronics has emerged as a substantial industry - and today, where there is electronic business there are generally information technology commercial ventures to be found as well.

 

There is a mountainous region in the northeastern corner of the state; otherwise it is dominated by geography of plateaus and coastal plains.  The Alabama coast is the heart of a Gulf Coast beach resort area, anchored by the port city of Mobile.  The state has a population of four and one half million, which is a ten percent increase over the census of 1990.  That fact is indicative of healthy economic development.

 

The University of Alabama and Auburn are the two state universities; also of particular note is Tuskegee University, founded in 1881 by Booker T. Washington as the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute.  It was among the first higher education institution dedicated to the advancement of African Americans.  Today it is a full fledged university with schools of arts and sciences, agriculture and home economics, business, education, engineering and architecture, nursing and allied health professions, and veterinary medicine.

 

Alabama is the heart of the South in the best sense of the word, as it has dedicated itself to becoming a place of economic prosperity and educational opportunity for all its citizens - and for any newcomer that might see a combination of career and education leading to success there.

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