The Black-Owned Alabama Plantation That Taught Me the Value of Home

After Emancipation, Ex-Slaves Took Over the Cotton Fields. Today Their Descendants Still Cherish the Land.

By the time I was eight years old, in 1948, my parents, my sister, and I had lived in five different states and had moved more often than that. My grandparents had emigrated from Europe to America early in the 20th century. Somehow I took it for granted that staying in one place for a long time was, if not un-American, at least unusual.

When I became a historian in the 1960s, I gravitated to a man on the move and through him achieved mobility myself. I wrote a book …

More In: Alabama

The Alabama Recording Studios Where Music Was Never Segregated

How the Muscle Shoals Sound Made a Rich Brew Out of Rock, Country, and R&B

Rod Stewart wasn’t pleased.

It was 1975, and the British rocker had traveled to Sheffield, Alabama, with a specific mission in mind: He wanted to record at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio …

Bittersweet Home, Alabama

One State’s Compelling Moment Makes Me Hit "Pause" On My Cross-Country Trek

I have to confess that when I first decided to walk across America to get to know my nation, I didn’t think Alabama would rank high on the list of …