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.
March 27, 1814
US forces under the command of Gen. Andrew Jackson defeated Chief Menawa and his Upper Creek warriors at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. With an army of 3,300, Jackson surrounded the fortified village of Tohopeka and outgunned the 1,000 warriors who then attempted to escape across the Tallapoosa River. Approximately 850 Upper Creek died in action, including 300 shot in the river. The battle effectively ended the Creek War of 1813-14 and led to the signing of the Treaty of Fort Jackson, which ceded 21 million acres of Creek Land to the United States, most of which helped form the Alabama Territory three years later.
March 28, 1905
Holland “Howlin’ Mad” Smith, a native of Russell County, entered the US Marine Corps as a second lieutenant. Smith remained in the Marine Corps for more than forty years, served in both world wars, and is perhaps best known for his work in developing the amphibious landing tactics used in World War II. Known as the “Father of Modern Amphibious Warfare,” Smith led troops in the capture of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, the Marianas, Guam, and Iwo Jima. He retired one year later at the rank of full general and published his memoir, Coral and Brass, in 1949.
March 29, 1960
The advertisement that led to the New York Times v. Sullivan US Supreme Court case ran in the New York Times (NYT). The full-page, ten-paragraph advertisement described a series of actions against black protestors in Alabama by local law enforcement, some inaccurately. In 1962, Lester B. Sullivan, who supervised the Montgomery Police Department, sued the NYT and four civil rights leaders, claiming that the advertisement personally libeled him, despite not mentioning him by name. After a judgment of $500,000 against the defendants in Alabama courts, the US Supreme Court overruled the verdict in a 9-0 decision, creating a new standard of “actual malice” in libel and defamation cases.
March 30, 2000
The Mobile Museum of Art, one of the largest art museums on the Gulf Coast, broke ground for a new facility designed to incorporate the existing museum buildings. Founded in 1963 by the Mobile Art Association and located in Langan Park, the museum is home to more than 10,000 works of American, European, African, and Asian art. The new facility tripled the size of the museum to 95,000 square feet at a cost of $15.5 million. In addition to new storage and exhibition space, the museum also added a theater, an auditorium, a library, and interpretive and interactive studios.
March 31, 1825
The Marquis de la Lafayette, the last surviving general of the Revolutionary War, arrived for his visit to Alabama at Fort Mitchell. On a grand tour of all twenty-four states in honor of the United States’ fiftieth anniversary, the French general attended lavish festivities in Montgomery, Cahaba, and Mobile. Lafayette met with French settlers of the Vine and Olive Colony and enjoyed a variety of traditional events, including a Creek game of stickball, receptions and balls, and a public barbeque dinner. While Alabamians treated Lafayette with great fanfare, however, his visit put a financial strain on the state, costing more money than existed in the treasury.
April 1, 1920
The Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) appointed Marie Bankhead Owen to the position of director. Owen succeeded her husband in the position, who died only a week earlier, and remained at ADAH for thirty-five years. Only the second woman to head a state agency, she is perhaps best remembered for securing federal funding to complete construction of the World War Memorial Building, where the ADAH offices and archives remain today. An accomplished author and active civic leader as well, Owen was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame in 1975.
April 2, 1947
Singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris was born in Birmingham. One of the most admired women in contemporary music, Harris is known for her crystalline voice and unforgettable harmonies that span a range of musical styles. Over her career, she has recorded with a diverse group of artists, including Tammy Wynette, Roy Orbison, Neil Young, The Band, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Costello. Harris has been nominated for a total of forty-six Grammy Awards, winning thirteen for country and folk singing. Harris was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.