A small but vocal southern state which has played a disproportionally large role in American political and civil life, Alabama has over the course of its history been the setting for numerous battles over race, discrimination and civil rights.
It played an influential role as an agitator for Southern secession from the north during the American Civil War. The state wears the legacy of this rebellion proudly and unapologetically; its Southern identity runs through every element of Alabaman life.
Alabama also played a pivotal role in the US Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s; Alabama’s Civil Rights Trail recounts the people and places that defined the conflict in the state. Alabama’s most famous literary icon, Pulitzer Prize winning author Harper Lee, dissected the prejudice and intolerance which was rife in the state in the now classic To Kill a Mocking Bird.
Alabaman music can largely be categorised as either country or gospel. Hank Williams represents the epitome of the former category, with his mournful ballads which have influenced generations of country artists. Wilson Pickett and The Blind Boys of Alabama, on the other hand, offer differing interpretations of gospel, with its emphasis on devotion and the traditions of the African-American church.
Films such as Forest Gump, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Sweet Home Alabama depict various elements of rural life in Alabama; situating that state within the larger context of American history whilst also offering a nostalgic portrayal of the ‘Heart of Dixie’, its people and its traditions.