Lowndes County, Alabama

Lowndes County, located in south-central Alabama, falls within what is known as the Black Belt region. It is named in honor of William Lowndes, a member of the United States Congress. Lowndes County’s seat is Hayneville. Lowndes County is a part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area. Lowndes County was established on January 20, 1830. It is adjacent to Autauga, Crenshaw, Butler, Dallas, Montgomery, and Wilcox Counties.

During the Civil Rights Era of the 1960’s, Lowndes County was referred to as “Bloody Lowndes.” The success of the Selma to Montgomery marches and The Civil Rights Act of 1964 encouraged leaders of the civil rights movement to believe that they could fight racism in Lowndes County. The Lowndes County Freedom Organization was founded as an independent political party which was designed to help black people stand up to the racial intimidation that had long plagued Lowndes County. The Organization was started by Civil Rights Leader Stokely Carmichael. Carmichael launched an effort to register blacks in Lowndes County.

Carmichael and the Organization had a simple plan to get enough black people to vote so that blacks might control local government and help Lowndes County residents with the services that had been previously denied. In 1965 with the Passage of the Voting Rights Act, the black residents of Lowndes County finally had the federal government on their side. In 1966, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization adopted the emblem of the Black Panther. Eventually, in 1970, Lowndes County elected John Helluett, the first Black sheriff in the county.

As part of the Black Belt, cotton was Lowndes County’s cash crop well into the twentieth century. Farmers diversified their crops by the mid-century into potatoes, corn, and livestock. Lowndes County has slowly moved into an industrialized economy. In 2003, Hyundai established its supplier plant, Sejong. The plan is located in Fort Deposit, Alabama and employs people in Lowndes County and the surrounding area.

The population of Lowndes County, based on the 2010 census, was approximately 11,299. Based on the census, the racial composition was 25.3 percent white, 73.3 percent as black or African American, 0.8 percent as Hispanic, 0.5 percent as two or more races, 0.2 percent Native American, and 0.1 Asian. Population density in Lowndes County was 19 people per square mile.

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