200 Alabama Bicentennial

Celebrating Alabama’s 200th birthday2017 2018 2019

  • Alabama Constitution of 1901

    The constitution includes the following articles: declaration of rights; state and county boundaries; distribution of powers of government; legislative department (including a a section on local legislation); executive department; judicial department; impeachments; suffrage and elections; representation (including a list of senatorial districts in the state); exemptions; taxation; corporations (divided into municipal corporations, private corporations, and railroads and canals); banks and banking; education; militia; oath of office; miscellaneous provisions; and mode of amending the constitution (almost 800 amendments have been made thus far). The last 6 pages are signed by 153 convention delegates, including John B. Knox, president of the convention, and Frank N. Julian, secretary of the convention. This constitution restricted suffrage to men who could pass certain literacy, employment, and property qualifications. The document is written on 61 pages that are bound in leather.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • Selection from Alabama Constitution of 1901

    These two sections from the 1901 Constitution highlight the limitations the new legislation placed on access to the vote, which included strict residency, poll tax, and land ownership requirements.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • Delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901

    Delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901. All of the delegates were white males.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • “It Means a New Constitution”

    This article comments on the Democratic victories in the recent election: "In our judgment, the result means a new Constitution for Alabama...The present one is out of date, imperfect and unfitted to present conditions...The perplexing, menacing problem of negro suffrage must be settled, as other States are settling it, by Constitutional methods, and to do that we must have the convention. If we read [t]he signs aright, the Democrats last Monday decided the question by electing a Legislature which will act in accordance with the expressed will of the people, and by electing a Governor who will carry out his part of the contract."

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • “Speech of Hon. John B. Knox, President of the Late Constitutional Convention in Alabama, at Centreville, November 9, 1901.”

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • Portrait of John Barnett Knox

    Knox was the president of Alabama's constitutional convention of 1901.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • Letter from Booker T. Washington to John B. Knox, president of the Constitutional Convention in Montgomery

    Enclosed with the letter is a petition "representing the feelings and wishes of the colored people of the State of Alabama" which Washington asks to be read during the convention.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 5, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • Booker T. Washington at his desk

    Booker T. Washington at his desk, Administration Building, Tuskegee Institute. Circa 1910.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • Petition submitted to the 1901 constitutional convention in Montgomery, Alabama by 28 women (all taxpayers) in Madison County

    The women request that the new constitution include a provision for woman suffrage, at least for those "who are tax-payers or property-owners therein, to vote on all questions affecting their property or the taxation thereof and on all questions affecting education." They argue that denying this right amounts to "Taxation without representation": "We protest the taxation of women and their property, without giving them a voice in elections affecting such taxation, is unfair and a denial of their just rights. We insist that those powers of government only are just which are derived from the consent of the governed, and that the consent of the women of Alabama to government affecting their rights and property can only be obtained by giving them the right of suffrage."

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • Frances Griffin comments to the Alabama Constitutional Convention, June 10, 1901

    Griffin delivered a speech urging the legislature to include women's suffrage in the 1901 Constitution.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • Portrait of Frances Griffin

    Griffin was a leader of the temperance and women's suffrage movements in the state. The painting is by Carrie Montgomery. This painting is in the museum collection at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • “The Citizens of Alabama declare for white supremacy and purity of ballot”

    Headline places white supremacy at the core of what the 1901 Constitution enacted.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • “Will Invoke Federal Aid”

    Documents efforts by African Americans to oppose the Constitution on the grounds of preserving their citizenship.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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  • “White Supremacy, Honest Elections, and the New Constitution! One and Inseparable!”

    This was the line advocates of the 1901 Constitution used frequently in newspapers and generally in promoting their cause.

    ALCOS Social Studies Content Standard Grade(s): 4, 6, 7 (Civics), 10, 11, 12 (US Government)

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