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Montgomery in Montgomery County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Cotton State / Slavery

 
 
Cotton State Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, September 26, 2021
1. Cotton State Marker
Inscription.  
Cotton State
Alabama's rapid growth depended on cotton cultivation. Statehood coincided with improvement of the cotton gin and increased demand for cotton in British and northern factories. Within thirty years, Alabama was producing 23 percent of the nation's cotton, helping make the U.S. the largest producer in the world. Most Alabama cotton was grown in the Black Belt and the Tennessee Valley.

The vibrant economy supported the creation of churches, colleges, militias, and markets, but very little manufacturing. Commerce relied on the state's numerous waterways. Steamboats carried cotton downriver for export and returned bearing manufactured goods, passengers, and enslaved laborers. “Cotton was the sole topic.... At every dock or wharf, we encountered it in huge piles or pyramids of bales, and our decks were soon choked up with it.”
Basil Hall, 1828

At Claiborne, one of the towns visited by Hall, a steamboat unloaded its cargo, including a group of slaves purchased in Mobile and destined for a nearby plantation.
Slavery
Slavery was central
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to Alabama's development and had lasting effects on its economy, culture, and politics. The labor of enslaved blacks was responsible for much of the state's early infrastructure, the construction of public and private buildings, and the cotton cultivation that sustained the economy.

Nearly one-third of enslaved people lived on large plantations with fifty or more slaves, but many worked on small farms with fewer than five slaves. State law prohibited slaves from owning property or learning to read and write. It also severely restricted the freeing of slaves and the activities of free blacks.

By the start of the Civil War, enslaved blacks accounted for 45 percent of Alabama's population. Most whites believed the preservation of slavery to be essential to the state's future.

“Any slave who...furnishes any other slave with any pass or free paper...must receive one hundred lashes on his bare back. Code of Alabama, 1852 .
 
Erected 2019 by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansAgricultureCivil Rights. A significant historical year for this entry is 1828.
 
Location. 32° 22.691′ N, 86° 18.11′ W. Marker is in Montgomery, Alabama, in Montgomery County
Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, September 26, 2021
2. Slavery Marker
. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Dexter Avenue and North Bainbridge Street, on the right when traveling west. Located in Alabama Bicentennial Park in front of the Lurleen B. Wallace Office Building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 500 Dexter Ave, Montgomery AL 36130, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Alabama Territory / Path to Statehood (a few steps from this marker); Secession & Confederacy / Civil War (a few steps from this marker); Resistance and War / Alabama Fever (a few steps from this marker); Emancipation / Reconstruction (within shouting distance of this marker); Alabama's First Peoples / Creek Country (within shouting distance of this marker); George Washington (within shouting distance of this marker); Industrialization / Iron Boom (within shouting distance of this marker); Alabama Bicentennial Park / Ancient Sea (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Montgomery.
 
Cotton State / Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, September 26, 2021
3. Cotton State / Slavery Marker
Cotton State / Slavery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, September 26, 2021
4. Cotton State / Slavery Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 26, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 26, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 336 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 26, 2021, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Feb. 29, 2024