Hale County, Alabama

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Hale County
Hale County Courthouse and Confederate statue in Greensboro
Hale County Courthouse and Confederate statue in Greensboro
Map of Alabama highlighting Hale 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°45′39″N 87°37′47″W / 32.760833333333°N 87.629722222222°W / 32.760833333333; -87.629722222222
Country United States
State Alabama
FoundedJanuary 30, 1867
Named forStephen F. Hale
SeatGreensboro
Largest cityMoundville
Area
 • Total657 sq mi (1,700 km2)
 • Land644 sq mi (1,670 km2)
 • Water13 sq mi (30 km2)  1.9%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total14,785
 • Estimate 
(2021)
14,754 Decrease
 • Density23/sq mi (8.7/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district7th
Websitewww.halecountyal.com
  • County Number 36 on Alabama Licence Plates

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.[1] Its county seat is Greensboro.[2] It is named in honor of Confederate officer Stephen Fowler Hale.[3]

Hale County is part of the Tuscaloosa, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

The Safe House Museum in Greensboro; in 1968 its owner sheltered Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from Klan members in the area

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.[4][5]

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.[5] It is also the birthplace of Eugene Sawyer, the second African American mayor of Chicago.[6] 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.[7]

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.

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 657 square miles (1,700 km2), of which 644 square miles (1,670 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (1.9%) is water.[8]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
187021,792
188026,55321.8%
189027,5013.6%
190031,01112.8%
191027,883−10.1%
192024,289−12.9%
193026,2658.1%
194025,533−2.8%
195020,832−18.4%
196019,537−6.2%
197015,888−18.7%
198015,604−1.8%
199015,498−0.7%
200017,18510.9%
201015,760−8.3%
202014,785−6.2%
2021 (est.)14,754[9]−0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790–1960[11] 1900–1990[12]
1990–2000[13] 2010–2020[1]

2020 census[edit]

Hale County racial composition[14]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 5,972 40.39%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 8,313 56.23%
Native American 34 0.23%
Asian 18 0.12%
Pacific Islander 5 0.03%
Other/Mixed 294 1.99%
Hispanic or Latino 149 1.01%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 14,785 people, 5,650 households, and 3,611 families residing in the county.

2010 census[edit]

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).

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[15] 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[edit]

The Farquhar Cattle Ranch, a former Alabama Department of Corrections facility for men,[16] was in an unincorporated area of the county, about 8 miles (13 km) east of Greensboro.[17]

Hale County is reliably Democratic at the presidential level. The last Republican to win the county in a presidential election is Richard Nixon, who won it by a majority in 1972.

United States presidential election results for Hale County, Alabama[18]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 3,192 40.41% 4,663 59.03% 45 0.57%
2016 3,173 39.47% 4,775 59.39% 92 1.14%
2012 3,210 37.12% 5,411 62.58% 26 0.30%
2008 3,200 38.96% 4,982 60.65% 32 0.39%
2004 3,281 41.30% 4,631 58.29% 33 0.42%
2000 2,984 38.60% 4,652 60.17% 95 1.23%
1996 1,893 34.59% 3,372 61.61% 208 3.80%
1992 2,001 33.22% 3,481 57.80% 541 8.98%
1988 2,414 42.71% 3,187 56.39% 51 0.90%
1984 2,691 44.44% 3,289 54.31% 76 1.25%
1980 2,074 34.69% 3,583 59.93% 322 5.39%
1976 2,034 37.71% 3,236 59.99% 124 2.30%
1972 2,859 59.22% 1,779 36.85% 190 3.94%
1968 266 5.06% 2,003 38.08% 2,991 56.86%
1964 1,898 77.60% 0 0.00% 548 22.40%
1960 741 35.97% 1,309 63.54% 10 0.49%
1956 504 26.29% 1,314 68.54% 99 5.16%
1952 758 38.44% 1,210 61.36% 4 0.20%
1948 43 3.96% 0 0.00% 1,044 96.04%
1944 33 2.54% 1,265 97.46% 0 0.00%
1940 32 1.86% 1,691 98.14% 0 0.00%
1936 20 1.21% 1,626 98.31% 8 0.48%
1932 70 5.19% 1,275 94.58% 3 0.22%
1928 403 27.77% 1,048 72.23% 0 0.00%
1924 23 2.60% 856 96.72% 6 0.68%
1920 18 1.85% 953 97.74% 4 0.41%
1916 15 1.85% 795 97.79% 3 0.37%
1912 4 0.55% 720 98.50% 7 0.96%
1908 13 1.78% 714 97.81% 3 0.41%
1904 27 3.59% 723 96.02% 3 0.40%

Transportation[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Airports[edit]

Tourism[edit]

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.[5][19] 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.[5][20]

Communities[edit]

City[edit]

Towns[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost towns[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 147.
  4. ^ "Alabama Counties: Hale County". Alabama Department of Archives and History. State of Alabama. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d "Hale County". The Encyclopedia of Alabama. Auburn University. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
  6. ^ "Former Mayor Eugene Sawyer Dies", Chicago Tribune, January 20, 2008, archived from the original on January 23, 2008
  7. ^ "SHERIFF KENNETH W. ELLIS". Hale County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021". Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  12. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  14. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  16. ^ "Farquhar Cattle Ranch" (Archive). Alabama Department of Corrections. Retrieved on June 17, 2014. "Street Address: 1132 County Rd. 73 Greensboro, AL 36744"
  17. ^ "Crime Beat" (Archive). Tuscaloosa News. Monday April 9, 2012. Retrieved on June 17, 2014.
  18. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  19. ^ "Safehouse Black History Museum at Greensboro, Alabama". Rural Southwest Alabama. April 25, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  20. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°45′39″N 87°37′47″W / 32.76083°N 87.62972°W / 32.76083; -87.62972