Every day of the year, something exciting, notable, or just downright strange has happened in Alabama history.
Scroll down and check out what happened THIS week.
February 20, 1963
Basketball superstar Charles Barkley was born in Leeds. Known as “Sir Charles” and “the Round Mound of Rebound,” Barkley won the SEC Player of the Year in 1984 as he led Auburn University to its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Barkley earned eleven NBA All-Star Game appearances in his sixteen-year career as a power forward, earned the league’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1993, and won two Olympic gold medals (both as the teams’ top scorer). Often at the center of controversy, Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and now works as an NBA analyst for TNT.
February 21, 1861
The Provisional Confederate Congress authorized the lease of an executive mansion in Montgomery for $5,000 a year. Built in the Federal style between 1832 and 1835, the First White House of the Confederacy served as the residence of Jefferson Davis for three months while Montgomery was the Confederate capital. In 1900, the newly-founded White House Association of Alabama began its more than twenty-year struggle to save the building that culminated with a restoration and relocation in 1921. The house now serves as a museum and exhibits Civil War artifacts and former possessions of the Davis family.
February 22, 1893
The University of Alabama and Auburn University football teams played for the first time in Birmingham’s Lakeview Park before a crowd of 5,000. The matchup, which Auburn won 32-22, occurred only a year after both schools fielded teams for the first time and kicked off an annual series that lasted until 1907. After the state legislature passed a resolution in 1947 requesting that the schools play, the rivalry’s modern era began the following year and soon came to be called the Iron Bowl, a term coined by Auburn coach Shug Jordan. Alabama leads the all-time series 45-35-1.
February 23, 1883
A legislative act established the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES) to conduct scientific research related to the state’s agricultural industry. Focused on finding ways to improve cotton production, the AAES initiated the nation’s first experiment to show the benefit of rotating cotton with other crops in 1886. Now known as the Old Rotation, the study proved that a cotton/legume crop rotation would allow soil to indefinitely support cotton cropping. The experiment, which continues to this day on Auburn University’s campus, is the oldest continuous cotton experiment in the world and was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1988.
February 24, 1986
The King County Council of Washington voted 5-4 to “rename” the county to commemorate Alabamian Martin Luther King Jr instead of Alabamian William Rufus King. The Oregon Territorial Legislature originally named the county, which includes the city of Seattle, after William Rufus King, who then served as vice president elect of the United States, in 1852. While the council approved the change—due to William Rufus King owning slaves—it was not officially accepted by the state until 2005. In 2007, the county unveiled a new logo featuring Martin Luther King Jr’s likeness.
February 25, 1995
NASCAR driver Davey Allison was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame on what would have been his thirty-fourth birthday. A member of the Alabama Gang, a group of successful NASCAR drivers from the state that included his father and uncle, Allison won the 1987 Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year. He died in 1994 when a helicopter he was piloting crashed in the Talladega Superspeedway infield. Over his short nine-year career, Davey notched nineteen career Winston Cup Series victories, including three at Talladega Superspeedway, and was posthumously inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1998.
February 26, 1930
Medical geneticist Sara Crews Finley was born in Lineville. She and her husband, Wayne Finley, co-founded the UAB Laboratory of Medical Genetics, the first medical genetics program in the Southeast, which they oversaw for more than 30 years. Throughout her career, Sara Finley authored or co-authored more than 150 publications and was the first woman to serve as president of the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association and the Jefferson County Medical Society. The Finleys were founding fellows of the American College of Medical Genetics and were inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2001.