Alabama’s History Haunts, But It Also Instructs


In an essay for Harper’sscholar and writer Imani Perry tells a textured story of Alabama that moves through time and critical places throughout the state like Mobile, Birmingham, Selma, and Uniontown. “Alabama changes,” writes Perry. The author, an Alabama native, mourns, yet finds the space for hope. She predicts what recent, local events—such as Doug Jones’ black voter-powered fall 2017 Senate victory, or the opening of the nation’s first lynching museum—could mean for the whole of America, if we pay attention.

If you drive from Mobile to Birmingham, you can take the interstate, 65, which would bring you through Montgomery, the capital, the home of Rosa Parks, the site of the bus boycott and Martin Luther King Jr.’s onetime church. Or you can take local Alabama roads. The roads less taken are instructive. On another route, about an hour west, is a little-known place called Uniontown. It…

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