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Just 250 miles from north to south, ALABAMA ranges from the
fast-flowing rivers, waterfalls and lakes of the Appalachian
foothills to the subtropical bayous and white beaches of the
Gulf Coast . Most of its industry is concentrated in the north
, around rejuvenated Birmingham , and Huntsville , first home
of the nation's space program. The sun-scorched farmlands of
middle Alabama envelop sober Montgomery , the state capital.
Away from the French-influenced coastal strip around attractive
Mobile , fundamentalist Protestant attitudes have traditionally
backed a succession of right-wing demagogues, such as George
Wallace , the four-time state governor who received ten million
votes in the 1968 presidential election.
Times have moved on since the epic civil rights struggles in
Montgomery, Birmingham and Selma . Monuments and civic literature
celebrate the achievements of the campaigners, and even Wallace
renounced his racist views, courting - and winning - black votes
in his successful campaign for governor in 1982.
Considering its rural nature, public transportation is relatively
good in Alabama. Daily Amtrak trains from New York and Atlanta
to New Orleans stop at Anniston, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa,
while the line from Jacksonville to New Orleans passes through
Mobile; Amtrak buses connect Birmingham and Mobile by way of
Montgomery, and Greyhound serves the major towns and cities.
Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville and Birmingham all have small
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