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Official Symbols of Alabama

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Dothan Landmarks Park

AGRICULTURAL MUSEUM
Dothan Landmarks Park (1992)
Dothan Landmark Park is dedicated to preserving the cultural and natural heritage of the Wiregrass region of southeast Alabama.

Square Dance

AMERICAN FOLK DANCE
Square Dance
(1981)

Red Hills Salamander

AMPHIBIAN
Red Hills Salamander, Phaeognathus hubrichti (2000)
Thought to exist only in a 50,000-acre area of southern Alabama, the third graders at Fairhope Elementary School (guided by teachers Susan Sims and Amy Jones) waged the campaign that led to the Red Hills Salamander being designated as the state amphibian.

BARBECUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Demopolis Christmas on the River Cook-Off (1991)
Alabama State Bible

BIBLE (1853)
Purchased in 1853, this historic Bible was used to swear in Jefferson Davis as the President of the Confederate States of America on February 18, 1861. Each of Alabama's governors has used this same Bible to be sworn in since 1853.

Yellowhammer

BIRD
Northern Flicker (aka Yellowhammer), Colaptes auratus (1927)
The nickname "Yellowhammer" was applied to the Confederate soldiers from Alabama after a company of soldiers were seen wearing uniforms with bits of brilliant yellow cloth on the sleeves, collars and coattails.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

BUTTERFLY and MASCOT
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (1989)
So designated at the request of Selma, Alabama's City Council (Selma is called The Butterfly Capital of Alabama and Selma's mascot is the tiger swallowtail).

Alabama Coat of Arms

COAT OF ARMS (1939)
The flags of Spain, France, Great Britain and the Confederacy are bound by the flag and shield of the United States. The shield is supported on either side by bald eagles, symbolic of courage. The crest is a model of the Baldine, the ship that Iberville and Bienville sailed from France to settle a colony near present-day Mobile (1699). The motto beneath the shield is "Audemus jura nostra defendere" ("We dare defend our rights").

Brown Shrimp

CRUSTACEAN
Brown Shrimp,
Peneaus aztecus (2015)
Students at Fairhope Elementary School waged the campaign that led to the Brown Shrimp being designated as the state crustacean.

Alabama State Flag

FLAG (1895)
"A crimson cross of St. Andrew on a field of white" is the official description of Alabama's state flag (patterned after the Confederate battle flag).

Camellia

FLOWER
Camellia (1959)

Basilosaurus cetoides

FOSSIL
Basilosaurus cetoides (1984)
These ancient whale fossils are most abundant in Alabama, and the two most complete Basilosaurus cetoides skeletons ever found are from Alabama -- one is displayed at the McWane Center in Birmingham and the other in the Smithsonian Institutute in Washington, D.C.

Largemouth Bass

FRESHWATER FISH
Largemouth Bass
(1975)

Blackberry

FRUIT
Blackberry
(2004)

Wild Turkey

GAME BIRD
Wild Turkey (1980)

Star Blue Quartz

GEMSTONE
Star Blue Quartz (1990)

Alabama Theatre for the Performing Arts.

HISTORIC THEATRE
Alabama Theatre for the Performing Arts (1993)
Built in downtown Birmingham by Paramount Studios in 1927 as a showcase for Paramount films and home to "The Mighty Wurlitzer" organ, the Alabama Theatre has hosted historic figures of stage and screen such as John Barrymore, Roy Rogers, and Tallulah Bankhead.

Racking Horse

HORSE
Racking Horse (1975)
A group of Alabama businessmen formed a corporation and initiated the legal maneuverings that were necessary to designate this horse as a distinct breed. In 1971 the USDA recognized the Racking Horse Breeders' Association of America, thereby allowing a registry to be established to perpetuate the racking horse breed.

HORSE SHOW
AOHA Alabama State Championship Horse Show
(1988)
The idea for a statewide horse show was the dream of a man named Don Witt. The first horse show was held in W. O. Crawford Arena in Montgomery in September 1988 with 994 entries over a two-day period. By 2002 the show had grown to three days with over 2,000 entries. It is usually held at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery over Labor Day weekend and is the second largest horse show east of the Mississippi River.
HORSESHOE TOURNAMENT
Stockton Fall Horseshoe Tournament (1992)
Monarch Butterfly

INSECT
Monarch Butterfly (1989)

Black Bear

MAMMAL
Black Bear, Ursus americanus (1996)

West Indian Manatee

MARINE MAMMAL
West Indian Manatee,
Trichechus manatus (2009)

Hematite

MINERAL
Hematite (1967)
The mining of Hematite, also known as red iron ore, was once the state's most developed non-fuel mineral industry, and the occurrence of hematite with nearby deposits of coal and limestone led to the development of Birmingham as an industrial center. From about 1840 to 1975, approximately 375 million tons of iron ore were mined in Alabama, principally from the Birmingham red-ore district.

MOTTO
"We Dare Defend Our Rights" (1939)
The idea for Alabama's state motto came from Marie Bankhead Owen of the Alabama Department of Archives and History while searching for a phrase to be put on the state coat of arms (completed in 1923). The motto was inspired by a poem by the 18th-century author Sir William Jones which includes the stanza,

"What constitutes a state? . . .
Men who their duties know,
but know their rights,
and knowing, dare maintain."

The motto was translated into Latin (Audemus jura nostra defendere) by Professor W. B. Saffold, of the University of Alabama.

Pecan

NUT
Pecan (1982)

OUTDOOR DRAMA
"The Miracle Worker"
(1991)
In 1962, the first production of William Gibson's drama, The Miracle Worker, was performed on the grounds of Ivy Green, the birthplace of Helen Keller, and it has been a part of the annual week-long Helen Keller Festival ever since.
OUTDOOR MUSICAL DRAMA
"The Incident at Looney's Tavern"
(1993)
The Incident at Looney's Tavern is a historically factual musical drama staged in a 1500-seat amphitheatre in Winston County. The drama is the story of Christopher Sheats, a young Winston County school teacher who led Winston County's struggle against the South's secession prior to outbreak of the Civil War. The play was first staged in a shopping center parking lot as part of the 1987 Winston County Free State Festival.
Pine Burr Quilt

QUILT
Pine Burr Quilt (1997)
This quilt was made by Loretta Pettway Bennett, daughter of Qunnie Pettway, a quilter from Gee's Bend.

RENAISSANCE FAIRE
Florence Renaissance Faire
(1988)
Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle

REPTILE
Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle (1990)

ROCK
Marble
(1969)
The major source of Alabama marble is in an area known as the "Sylacauga marble belt" in Talladega County. The marble from this area has been called the whitest marble in the world. Well known for it's high-grade crystaline texture and beauty, Alabama marble has been used in buildings and monuments for over 160 years.
Fighting Tarpon

SALTWATER FISH
Fighting Tarpon,
Tarpon atlanticus (1955)

Great SEal of the State of Alabama

SEAL (1876)
Designed in 1817 by the first governor of the Alabama Territory (William Wyatt Bibb), the great seal of Alabama displays the major rivers of the state. The seal design is a map of the Alabama and surrounding territories (now states).

Scaphella junonia johnstoneae

SHELL
Scaphella junonia johnstoneae (1990)
This shell was named in honor of Kathleen Yerger Johnstone, an amateur conchologist from Mobile who made seashells popular through speeches and books.

SOIL
Bama Soil Series
(1997)
The Bama Soil Series includes fine-loamy, siliceous, subactive, and thermic Typic Paledults and occurs throughout the state. The soil was chosen by the Professional Soil Classifiers Association of Alabama.
SONG
"Alabama"
(1933)
SPIRIT
Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey
(2004)
The History of Conecuh Ridge Whiskey begins with Clyde May, a moonshiner and bootlegger who from the 1950s to the 1980s managed to produce around 300 gallons a week in a still of his own design in the woods near Almeria.
Southern Longleaf Pine

TREE
Southern Longleaf Pine, Pinus palustris (1997)

Peach

TREE FRUIT
Peach,
Prunus persica (2006)

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The Robinson Library >> American History >> United States: Local History and Description >> Gulf States >> Alabama

This page was last updated on September 25, 2017.