The southern state of Alabama was the center of many compelling moments in American’s history and evidence of this still remains in nearly every city here.
Set to lush mountainous backdrops or vast ocean views, I explored charming towns, historic landmarks, fascinating museums and some of the most inspiring places in the South.
Uplift Your Spirits with a Sunday Morning Service
The 20th century Civil Rights movement provoked huge changes for America and significant landmarks continue to inspire its communities. I was lucky enough to be in Birmingham on a Sunday morning and headed over to the 16th Street Baptist Church, the site of a devastating racially motivated bombing where four young lives were lost. Despite the horrific event that occurred here, the moment I walked through the door I could feel the exhilarating energy from the congregation that turned tragedy into triumph. The incredible gospel choir will truly touch your heart and lift your spirits.
Gospel choir at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham
Visit Landmarks That Shaped American History
Standing majestically in the city of Montgomery is the stunning white-domed Capitol building, the very spot where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America in the 1800s. I took a guided tour and learned more about how this building and its history brought about monumental change in America.
Montgomery was also the city in which prolific leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and others began laying the foundation for much of the Civil Rights movement. One church where King delivered his message of freedom and equality still stands on Dexter Avenue and kindly welcomes visitors. Be sure to descend the steps to the basement of the church and discover the spot where King rallied locals together for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. You will also find a collection of photographs from the time and a mural depicting the movement.
Trolley near the Alabama Capitol Building, downtown Montgomery
Discover Carnival Vibes
The first place to celebrate Mardi Gras in America was actually in Alabama in the port city of Mobile. Heavily influenced by the French, Spanish and English, as well as African cultures, the annual celebration still takes place today. I took some time to discover the history of this event at the Mobile Carnival Museum, which is home to a vast array of glittering, decadent, hand-made costumes, props and artifacts. The gift shop is just brimming with flamboyant, carnival-inspired trinkets and apparel for you to take the party home.
Float passes by in the Mobile Mardi Gras parade
Visit the Quaint Writer’s Hub of Monroeville
I am an avid reader, and one of my favorite books is "To Kill a Mockingbird." Inspired by her experiences in her hometown of Monroeville, Harper Lee won a Pulitzer Prize for her depiction of life in the South, and the Monroe County Museum will enlighten you on how this book came together.
Lee wasn’t the only writer to come out of Monroeville. Iconic author Truman Capote also spent his formative years here. For such a small country town, Monroeville certainly did provide influential characters that shaped the literary culture of the nation.
Alabama was a hugely influential state in the development of America, politically and culturally, and the beautifully preserved historic landmarks reflect this. The locals are deeply proud of how revolutionary events in the past have shaped the now modern and cosmopolitan South. Plan your visit to Alabama soon.
Posing in the courtroom where "To Kill A Mockingbird" was set in Monroeville