Perry County, Alabama
Perry County is located in the west-central part of Alabama. Perry County falls within what is known as the Black Belt Region. Perry County was established on December 13, 1819, and was named in honor of United States Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry of Rhode Island. Perry County is adjacent to Bibb, Chilton, Dallas, Marengo and Hale Counties. Perry County’s seat and largest city is Marion, Alabama. The county is governed by a five-member commission and includes the two communities.
Perry County was created by an act of Alabama Legislature; the county’s land was acquired from the Creek Indians in the Treaty of Fort Jackson. Early settlers came from the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee. Marion (formally known as Muckle’s Ridge) was the first town in the Perry County area. The towns of Uniontown (formally known as Woodville), and Heiberger were later established. Perry County’s first courthouse was a log cabin erected at Perry Ridge. In 1856, the courthouse was rebuilt and continues to serve as the counties courthouse today. Perry County was a focal point for education in the mid-1800s. The Southern Alabama Baptists Denomination founded Judson College in 1838. The group later established Howard College in 1842. Lincoln Normal School was founded in 1867 by freed slaves as a school for African American children. The institution was later moved to Montgomery, Alabama and renamed Alabama State University.
The population of Perry County, as reported in the 2010 census, was approximately 10,591. Based on the census, Perry County’s racial composition was 68.7 percent black or African American, 30.3 percent as white, 1.1 percent as Hispanic, 0.4 percent as two or more races, 0.3 percent Asian, and 0.2 percent Native American.
Perry County offers many recreational activities. Perry County is the home of the Talladega National Forests, which covers 375,000 acres of land. The national park provides visitors hiking trails, streams, and camping grounds. Perry County has several museums and cultural centers located in Marion. The Alabama Military Hall of Honor Museum exhibits portrait plaques and military artifacts. The Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, which is located at Judson College, is a part of Perry County’s history as well. It is also the birthplace of Civil Right Activists Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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