Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Alabama: Echoes from the Heart of Dixie

This Day in History: December 14, 1819

Alabama State Motto: "We dare maintain our rights" (Audemus jura nostra defendere) 

Tidbit of Trivia... 

The state of Alabama is host to the world's largest cast iron statue, The Vulcan, and is the symbol for the city of Birmingham, reflecting its roots in the iron and steel industry. The statue is located in a city park at the top of Red Mountain. Vulcan stands on a 126-ft pedestal built of local sandstone. The Vulcan is 56 feet tall and weighs 120,000 pounds. It is the seventh-tallest free-standing statue in the United States. 

The statue's naked buttocks have been source of humor for many years. A novelty song, "Moon Over Homewood," refers to the fact that the statue "moons" the neighboring suburb of Homewood, Alabama.

Scenic Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama

How did Alabama get its name?
The origin of the name "Alabama" remains somewhat questionable. Sources vary - the traditional story is that Alabama comes from the Creek Indian language (meaning "tribal town"). Other sources claim it is derived from the Choctaw Indian language, translating as "thicket-clearers" or "vegetation-gatherers."
Even though not official probably the most familiar nickname for Alabama is The Heart of Dixie. This name was designated originally because Montgomery was the first capital of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Alabama is also called The Cotton State since it is centrally located in the cotton belt with cotton production being a major influence in the growth and culture of the state. It has been known as The Yellowhammer State since the civil war when a company of Alabama soldiers wore uniforms trimmed with yellow cloth and were nicknamed Yellowhammers. "Yellowhammer" is the common name given to the Northern flicker woodpecker (see State Bird below) because of the bright yellow feathers beneath its wings and tail.

Aerial America: Alabama 

Buckle up and "Roll Tide" as we journey over vast cotton fields, endless waters, storied football stadiums, and historical landmarks that collectively tell the tale of Sweet Home Alabama. Discover its rich history as we reveal the astronomical discoveries that helped us reach the moon and the civil rights victories that forged a path to equality for millions. The story of the Cotton State has as many dramatic turns as the tracks of the Talladega Superspeedway.


Prior to the admission of Mississippi as a state on December 10, 1817, the more sparsely settled eastern half of the territory was separated and named the Alabama Territory. The Alabama Territory was created by the United States Congress on March 3, 1817. Alabama joined the union as the 22nd state on December 14, 1819. During the first half of the 19th century, cotton and slave labor were central to Alabama’s economy. In the mid-20th century, Alabama was at the center of the American Civil Rights Movement. The capital of Alabama is Montgomery, which was the capital of the Confederacy during the civil war.
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States.

Alabama State Flag

Alabama State Seal

Alabama State Bird: Yellowhammer Woodpecker (Northern Flicker)


Alabama State Horse: Racking Horse 
Alabama designated the racking horse as the official state horse in 1975. Legendary for its beauty, intelligence, stamina and calm disposition, the origins of the racking horse date back to the birth of our nation. The horse's popularity grew on the great southern plantations when it was learned how versatile the breed was and that it could be ridden comfortably for hours.

 Alabama State Flower: Camellia 
The camellia (Camellia japonica L) was designated the state flower of Alabama in 1959, replacing the original state flower adopted in 1927 (goldenrod). A native of China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan, the camellia is cultivated in the southeastern United States.
Alabama State Nut: Pecan 
Alabama made the pecan the state nut in 1982. There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans - many are named for Native American Indian tribes such as Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee. The pecan, because of its pure American heritage, is honored by having the month of April declared as National Pecan Month. Astronauts took pecans to the moon on two Apollo space missions.
For all State Symbols of Alabama click HERE!

 Alabama State Song: "Alabama"

Alabama designated the square dance as the official state American Folk Dance in 1981. Twenty-two states have passed legislation to declare the square dance as the state folk dance and more than thirty bills have been introduced at the federal level proposing the square dance as the national (folk) dance of the United States.
Echoes from the Heart of Dixie

From the toils of slave families  
Cotton plantations flourished
Romance and mystery of the South 
Echo tales still cherished


Antebellum splendor  
Epitomizes wealth and glory
 Walls of white mansions
Echo their own side of the story

Country, folk and fiddle music  
Mirror recording sensations
Old-time bluegrass to gospel soul
 Echo Southern vibrations

Corn bread, collard greens

Announce "We're delicious!"
Grits and fried green tomatoes
Echo simply tasty-licious

Civil war and slavery  
Play center stage for civil rights
Farmers' perils and the boll weevil
Echo the Heart of Dixie's plights

©2014 Sharla Lee Shults

Centuries of History

Alabama Facts and Trivia

Next state by month: #2 New Jersey - December 18, 1787