Hale County, Alabama
|Founded||January 30, 1867|
|Named for||Stephen F. Hale|
|• Total||657 sq mi (1,700 km2)|
|• Land||644 sq mi (1,670 km2)|
|• Water||13 sq mi (30 km2) 1.9%|
|• Density||23/sq mi (8.7/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Hale 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 14,785. Its county seat is Greensboro. It is named in honor of Confederate officer Stephen Fowler Hale.
Hale County was established following the end of the American Civil War, on January 30, 1867. Located in the west-central section of the state, it was created from portions of Greene, Marengo, Perry, and Tuscaloosa counties. The vast majority of the territory came from Greene County. The first American settlers in this area had been southerners migrating from Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas.
Hale County is connected to three major twentieth-century artists: Walker Evans photographed the area in 1936 while he collaborated with James Agee on the 1941 book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Since the 1960s, artist William Christenberry, born in Tuscaloosa, has been photographing various structures in Hale County as part of his multi-media artistic investigations. More recently, Hale County has become the home of the nationally recognized Auburn University Rural Studio, an architectural outreach program founded by architect and artist Samuel Mockbee and D. K. Ruth. It is also the birthplace of Eugene Sawyer, the second African American mayor of Chicago. In 2019 the film Hale County This Morning, This Evening by artist RaMell Ross was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, poetically addressing the region's shift in demographics and the power of intra-community authorship.
Since the American Civil War, whites have controlled much of the economic and political power in Hale County, enforced early by violence and later by the decades of disenfranchisement of black voters and statewide imposition of Jim Crow. In the first half of the 20th century, many African Americans left the county in two waves of migration to cities and northern and western industrial centers. Beginning in the late 1960s, they recovered the ability to vote.
In 1997, after a highly contested mayoral election, the city of Greensboro elected its first black mayor, John E. Owens Jr. Claude Hamilton, the first African-American chief of police, was appointed in 2000. In 2006, black and white county residents joined in electing the first black county sheriff, Kenneth W. Ellis, who was formerly the Moundville police chief.
Hale County has suffered economic decline, particularly in the southern more rural end of the county. Many manufacturing plants closed during late 20th century restructuring, and population and businesses declined with the loss of jobs, especially in and around Greensboro (the county seat). The northern portion of the county, however, has enjoyed population and industrial growth due to its proximity to Tuscaloosa County. The latter has been a growing center of industry and new businesses, anchored by the University of Alabama and its large student body and resources.
- Tuscaloosa County (north)
- Bibb County (northeast)
- Perry County (southeast)
- Marengo County (south)
- Greene County (west)
National protected area
- Talladega National Forest (part)
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 15,760 people living in the county. 59.0% were Black or African American, 39.8% White, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% of some other race and 0.6% of two or more races. 0.9% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,185 people, 6,415 households, and 4,605 families living in the county. The population density was 27 people per square mile (10/km2). There were 7,756 housing units at an average density of 12 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 39.83% White, 58.95% Black or African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.16% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.58% from two or more races. 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,415 households, out of which 36.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.60% were married couples living together, 22.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.20% were non-families. 26.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.19.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 29.60% under the age of 18, 9.10% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 13.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.60 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $25,807, and the median income for a family was $31,875. Males had a median income of $28,493 versus $19,363 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,661. About 22.20% of families and 26.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.00% of those under age 18 and 26.70% of those age 65 or over.
Government and infrastructure
Greensboro, the county seat, is home to the 'Safe House Museum'. On March 21, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. attended a meeting at Greensboro's St. Matthew Church, and then spent the night in this house where he sought refuge from the Ku Klux Klan. The museum reveals the struggle for equality for African Americans in Alabama, and its curator, Ms. Theresa Burroughs, was both a family friend of King, and a foot soldier in the Civil Rights Movement. Historically William Burns Paterson had set up Tullibody Academy for African Americans in Greensboro.
Greensboro is also home to a large number of antebellum-era houses and churches, including some that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places such as Glencairn and Magnolia Grove.
- Greensboro (county seat)
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Hale County, Alabama
- Properties on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage in Hale County, Alabama
- Hale County This Morning, This Evening—2018 documentary film about the black community in Hale County
- "QuickFacts: Hale County, Alabama; Population, Census, 2020 & 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 147.
- "Alabama Counties: Hale County". Alabama Department of Archives and History. State of Alabama. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- "Hale County". The Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- "Former Mayor Eugene Sawyer Dies", Chicago Tribune, January 20, 2008, archived from the original on January 23, 2008
- "SHERIFF KENNETH W. ELLIS". Hale County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
- Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- "Farquhar Cattle Ranch" (Archive). Alabama Department of Corrections. Retrieved on June 17, 2014. "Street Address: 1132 County Rd. 73 Greensboro, AL 36744"
- "Crime Beat" (Archive). Tuscaloosa News. Monday April 9, 2012. Retrieved on June 17, 2014.
- "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "Safehouse Black History Museum at Greensboro, Alabama". Rural Southwest Alabama. April 25, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
- Moundville Archaeological Park, Hale County, AL
- William Christenberry: Place, Time, and Memory Southern Spaces September 28, 2007
- Official website of Hale County