Alabama will celebrate its 200th anniversary as a state in 2019. The Alabama territory was created from the Mississippi Territory in 1817. It became the nation’s 22nd state on December 14, 1819.

The official launch of activities leading up to the actual celebration will begin next week, on May 5, in Mobile. The Alabama Bicentennial Commission, known as ALABAMA 200, has been formed to coordinate and carry out activities surrounding he commemoration.

Over the next two and a half years ALABAMA 200 will “support, create and execute events and activities that commemorate the stories of our people, place and path to statehood,” according to the organization’s mission statement. “It is a chance to celebrate our place, including each of the 67 counties, which stretch from the Shoals to the shores. It is a moment to remember the people who made our state and to nurture the generations who will carry us forward.”

Already in the works are a bicentennial traveling exhibit that will travel to all 67 counties; a print and digital “passport to the past” that will showcase destinations

throughout the state that can be visited by schoolchildren, families or history buffs to see and learn about Alabama history; promotion of the Alabama Civil Rights

Trail; video segments on Alabama Public Television highlighting Alabama history, people and places; renovation and restoration of Fort Toulouse, a renowned Native

American and French colonial site; and restoration of Constitutional Hall Village in Huntsville, built on the spot where the 1819 constitutional convention made Alabama a state.

This is a chance for Randolph County to make known to others what is unique about us. The program on Randolph County pottery at the Birmingham Museum of

Art last Friday was a reminder that we have a story to tell. Roanoke’s famous Ella Smith Doll is another story that needs sharing.

Grant programs through the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Alabama Humanities Foundation, Alabama Tourism Department and other agencies can help us in the effort. We shouldn’t miss this opportunity.

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