Greene County, Alabama

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Greene County
Greene County Courthouse in Eutaw
Greene County Courthouse in Eutaw
Map of Alabama highlighting Greene County
Location within the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 32°51′08″N 87°57′03″W / 32.852222222222°N 87.950833333333°W / 32.852222222222; -87.950833333333
Country United States
State Alabama
FoundedDecember 13, 1819
Named forNathanael Greene
SeatEutaw
Largest cityEutaw
Area
 • Total660 sq mi (1,700 km2)
 • Land647 sq mi (1,680 km2)
 • Water13 sq mi (30 km2)  1.9%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total7,730
 • Estimate 
(2021)
7,629 Decrease
 • Density12/sq mi (4.5/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district7th
  • County Number 35 on Alabama Licence Plates

Greene County is a county located in the west central portion of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2020 census, the population was 7,730,[1] the least populous county in Alabama. Its county seat is Eutaw.[2] It was named in honor of Revolutionary War General Nathanael Greene of Rhode Island.

As of the 2020 census, the county's population was 81% African American, making it the fourth-most heavily black county by proportion in the United States, and the most black county among all counties located outside of the state of Mississippi.

History[edit]

Greene County was established on December 13, 1819. Eutaw was established as the county seat in 1838, when the seat was moved from Erie. Eutaw is more centrally located.

Being designated as the seat of government stimulated growth in Eutaw.

Reconstruction era (1865–1876)[edit]

In 1867 the Reconstruction legislature organized Hale County, taking much of it from the eastern part of Greene County, plus sections of other neighboring counties. This was a period of continuing insurgency by whites, who attempted to maintain dominance over blacks. The latter comprised a majority in Greene County and others in the Black Belt.

The Greene County Courthouse in Eutaw was burned by arson in 1868, in a year with considerable election-associated violence throughout the South. On March 31, 1870, there were at least two insurgent attacks in Greene County. James Martin, a prominent black Republican, was shot and wounded by unidentified gunmen near his home in Union, Alabama. When a physician tried to remove the bullet to help him, the gunmen interrupted and took Martin away. He was "disappeared", believed dead.[3]

That same night, Republican County Solicitor, Alexander Boyd, a white native of South Carolina and Alabama resident, was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in his hotel in Eutaw. The prevailing theory by historians for the burning of the courthouse is that the records of some 1,800 suits by freedmen against planters were about to be prosecuted; the fire destroyed the documents. The deaths of Martin and Boyd were typical of the KKK, who attacked Republican officeholders and freedmen sympathizers, in addition to freedmen, especially politicians.[4]

Although Governor William Hugh Smith sent a special agent, John Minnis, to explore these deaths, he said he was unable to identify Boyd's killers. (Minnis later served as US Attorney and prosecuted Klansmen under the Enforcement Acts.) He suggested that the killers had come from Mississippi. A grand jury was called on Boyd's death, but no one was prosecuted. No grand jury was called for Martin's disappearance and presumed death.[3]

In the fall of 1870, two more black Republicans were killed in violence before the election. At a Republican rally on October 25, 1870, attracting 2,000 blacks in Eutaw, white Klansmen attacked the crowd in the courthouse square, leaving at least four blacks dead and 54 wounded. After this, most blacks stayed away from the polls or voted Democratic out of fear of reprisals; the Democratic gubernatorial candidate carried Greene County.[5]

Civil Rights Era (1964–1970)[edit]

On July 30, 1969, Greene County made history when it became "the first in the South since reconstruction with both the commission and the school board dominated by Negroes."[6] Barred from the ballot in the November 1968 general election, the new "National Democratic Party of Alabama" filed suit in federal court and a special election was ordered. In the new vote, African-American candidates won four of the five seats on the Greene County Commission, and two additional seats on the five-member Greene County School Board, and the Montgomery Advertiser would note the next day that "the election gave blacks control of both major governing bodies— a first in Alabama."[7] The date of the vote would later be described as "a watershed for black political empowerment in Alabama,",[8] leading to African-American candidates finally winning the right to govern counties where white residents were the minority.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 660 square miles (1,700 km2), of which 647 square miles (1,680 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (1.9%) is water.[9] Over 90% of Greene County's boundaries are dictated by the Tombigbee, Black Warrior, and Sipsey Rivers and much of the county is dominated by the valleys of the three rivers.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

In 1867, a chunk of the county and associated population was taken to form Hale County. This resulted in an apparent 40% loss in population between 1860 and 1870. In the 20th century, there were population losses after agricultural decline and the migration of rural workers to cities in other areas.

Historical population
Census Pop.
18204,554
183015,026230.0%
184024,02459.9%
185031,44130.9%
186030,859−1.9%
187018,399−40.4%
188021,93119.2%
189022,0070.3%
190024,1829.9%
191022,717−6.1%
192018,133−20.2%
193019,7458.9%
194019,185−2.8%
195016,482−14.1%
196013,600−17.5%
197010,650−21.7%
198011,0213.5%
199010,153−7.9%
20009,974−1.8%
20109,045−9.3%
20207,730−14.5%
2021 (est.)7,629[10]−1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]
1790–1960[12] 1900–1990[13]
1990–2000[14] 2010–2020[1]

2020 census[edit]

Greene County racial composition[15]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 1,285 16.62%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 6,227 80.56%
Native American 5 0.06%
Asian 7 0.09%
Other/Mixed 145 1.88%
Hispanic or Latino 61 0.79%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 7,730 people, 2,951 households, and 1,542 families residing in the county.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 9,045 people living in the county. 81.5% were Black or African American, 17.4% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.3% of some other race and 0.5% of two or more races. 0.8% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 9,974 people, 3,931 households, and 2,649 families living in the county. The population density was 15 people per square mile (6/km2). There were 5,117 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 19.09% White, 80.34% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.10% from other races, and 0.27% from two or more races. 0.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,931 households, out of which 32.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.40% were married couples living together, 27.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.60% were non-families. 30.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 29.20% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 25.10% from 25 to 44, 22.10% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $19,819, and the median income for a family was $24,604. Males had a median income of $25,707 versus $19,051 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,686. About 29.90% of families and 34.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 44.10% of those under age 18 and 31.60% of those age 65 or over.

Government[edit]

Greene County is strongly Democratic, but the nature of the membership has changed since the late 20th century. After the Civil War, conservative whites of the South continued in the Democratic Party. After being emancipated and gaining the franchise, African Americans generally joined the Republican Party of President Abraham Lincoln. After African Americans were disfranchised in Alabama in 1901 and other former Confederate states, the Democratic Party was even more exclusively white in Greene County and throughout the South. In the late 20th century, after civil rights legislation enabled African Americans to vote again, they joined the national Democratic Party.

The last Republican to win the county in a presidential election was Barry Goldwater in the 1964. It was only one of nine counties to back Goldwater and McGovern, all of which are located in the Deep South.[a]

United States presidential election results for Greene County, Alabama[17]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 875 18.32% 3,884 81.34% 16 0.34%
2016 838 17.17% 4,013 82.23% 29 0.59%
2012 804 15.05% 4,521 84.62% 18 0.34%
2008 876 16.51% 4,408 83.09% 21 0.40%
2004 958 20.18% 3,764 79.28% 26 0.55%
2000 850 19.34% 3,504 79.71% 42 0.96%
1996 796 17.99% 3,526 79.70% 102 2.31%
1992 805 16.49% 3,865 79.18% 211 4.32%
1988 1,048 23.94% 3,295 75.28% 34 0.78%
1984 1,361 26.13% 3,675 70.55% 173 3.32%
1980 1,034 22.79% 3,474 76.55% 30 0.66%
1976 903 23.65% 2,900 75.96% 15 0.39%
1972 1,404 29.65% 3,235 68.32% 96 2.03%
1968 180 4.54% 2,229 56.16% 1,560 39.30%
1964 1,124 65.69% 0 0.00% 587 34.31%
1960 381 33.93% 723 64.38% 19 1.69%
1956 309 29.60% 691 66.19% 44 4.21%
1952 430 38.91% 674 61.00% 1 0.09%
1948 31 4.73% 0 0.00% 625 95.27%
1944 45 6.23% 676 93.63% 1 0.14%
1940 77 7.93% 894 92.07% 0 0.00%
1936 20 2.26% 861 97.40% 3 0.34%
1932 9 1.30% 665 95.82% 20 2.88%
1928 39 6.09% 601 93.91% 0 0.00%
1924 5 1.20% 408 98.31% 2 0.48%
1920 10 1.88% 520 97.93% 1 0.19%
1916 9 2.30% 383 97.70% 0 0.00%
1912 94 18.22% 418 81.01% 4 0.78%
1908 12 2.73% 423 96.36% 4 0.91%
1904 17 3.42% 477 95.98% 3 0.60%
1900 107 9.82% 964 88.44% 19 1.74%
1896 503 20.91% 1,864 77.47% 39 1.62%
1892 355 11.85% 2,129 71.09% 511 17.06%
1888 778 35.67% 1,401 64.24% 2 0.09%
1884 1,304 67.60% 625 32.40% 0 0.00%
1880 1,463 60.81% 943 39.19% 0 0.00%
1876 2,686 71.80% 1,055 28.20% 0 0.00%
1872 2,516 67.80% 1,195 32.20% 0 0.00%
1868 2,927 77.11% 869 22.89% 0 0.00%
1860 0 0.00% 157 10.34% 1,361 89.66%
1856 0 0.00% 694 46.96% 784 53.04%
1852 694 55.12% 555 44.08% 10 0.79%
1848 1,088 60.44% 712 39.56% 0 0.00%
1844 1,090 57.10% 819 42.90% 0 0.00%
1840 1,366 63.36% 790 36.64% 0 0.00%
1836 1,116 62.42% 672 37.58% 0 0.00%
1832 0 0.00% 1,082 100.00% 0 0.00%


Communities[edit]

City[edit]

Towns[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Newton, Michael (January 1, 2004). The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9780816069880.
  4. ^ Rogers, William Warren (January 2, 2013). "The Boyd Incident: Black Belt Violence During Reconstruction". Civil War History. 21 (4): 309–329. doi:10.1353/cwh.1975.0009. ISSN 1533-6271.
  5. ^ Hennessey, Melinda M. (1980). "Political Terrorism in the Black Belt: The Eutaw Riot". Alabama Review. 33: 35–48.
  6. ^ "Negroes Control Southern County— Win In Alabama Called 'Greatest'", Pittsburgh Press, July 30, 1969, p2
  7. ^ "Greene Elects Six Negroes— Vote Gives Minority Control", Montgomery (AL) Advertiser, July 30, 1969, p1
  8. ^ "1969: The Year of Empowerment in Alabama", by David C. Ruffin, FOCUS: The monthly magazine of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (July 1999)
  9. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021". Retrieved April 7, 2022.
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  13. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  15. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  17. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved November 15, 2016.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The other counties to vote for both Goldwater and McGovern were the nearby "Black Belt" counties of Bullock, Lowndes, Sumter, and Wilcox in Alabama, the majority-black Mississippi counties of Claiborne, Holmes, and Jefferson, and West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana

Coordinates: 32°51′08″N 87°57′03″W / 32.85222°N 87.95083°W / 32.85222; -87.95083