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Abbeville
City
Historic Downtown Abbeville, Alabama
Historic Downtown Abbeville, Alabama
Location of Abbeville in Henry County, Alabama.
Location of Abbeville in Henry County, Alabama.
Abbeville is located in the US
Abbeville
Abbeville
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139
Country United States
State Alabama
County Henry
Government
 • Mayor James Giganti Jr.
Area[1]
 • Total 15.58 sq mi (40.36 km2)
 • Land 15.54 sq mi (40.26 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.11 km2)  0.32%
Elevation 449 ft (137 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 2,688
 • Estimate (2016)[3] 2,603
 • Density 167.47/sq mi (64.66/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 36310
Area code(s) 334
FIPS code 01-00124

Abbeville is a city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the population was 2,688.[4] The city is the county seat of Henry County. It is the first city alphabetically, both by city and state, in the Rand McNally Road Atlas. It has two high schools: the public Abbeville High School and private Abbeville Christian Academy. Chapters of the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity operate here.

Geography[edit]

Abbeville is located at 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139Coordinates: 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139 (31.566367, -85.251300).[5] The city is located in southeastern Alabama along U.S. Route 431, Alabama State Route 10, and Alabama State Route 27 approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Dothan and 23 mi (37 km) south-southwest of Eufaula.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.6 square miles (40 km2), of which 15.6 square miles (40 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.32%) is water.

Climate[edit]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Abbeville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[6]

History[edit]

Abbeville is the oldest remaining colonial settlement in East Alabama from Florida to the Tennessee line. It is older than either the county of Henry and the State of Alabama. The city was named for Abbe, a local Muscogee Indian man, at the time of the town's settlement. The name means "a grove of dogwood trees.” European Americans set up an active trading post in Abbeville in Alabama Territory early in 1819. The first settler gateway to the wiregrass region was at Franklin, located fourteen miles west of Abbeville.

Abbeville was designated as the Henry County seat in 1833; the seat had previously been Columbia. It was formally incorporated in 1853.[7]

In February 1937, Wes Johnson, an 18-year-old African-American man, was accused of attacking a white woman and was arrested. He was removed by a mob of 100 white men from the Henry County jail and lynched: shot and hanged.[8] His body was found "bullet marked" and "swinging from a tree."[9] As was typical of lynchings, none of the members of the mob was charged with a crime.[10]

Faye Walker Howell, a resident of nearby Dothan, Alabama, has done research on this case for 20 years. She has documented that Johnson and the white woman had a consensual sexual relationship. The white men could not live with that, and lynched the young man. Howell was featured on 60 Minutes on April 8, 2018 during an episode featuring Oprah Winfrey touring the new National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Johnson's story is featured among the lynching victims memorialized there,[11] and Henry County is marked as among the 805 counties where lynchings took place.[8] It had a total of 13 lynchings during the decades when this was frequent.[12]

The Alabama Attorney General filed an impeachment against the Henry County sheriff for his failure to protect Johnson. An appeal was heard by the Alabama Supreme Court, which overturned the impeachment in June 1937. The Alabama Attorney General openly declared that Johnson was innocent of the charges against him.[13]

In 1944, Recy Taylor, an African-American activist, was gang-raped by six white men. Although the men admitted the rape to authorities, two grand juries subsequently declined to indict them.[14][15] From a historic point of view, "the Recy Taylor case brought the building blocks of the Montgomery bus boycott together a decade earlier."[14]

In 1950, Abbeville had a population of 2,162.[16]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 300
1890 465
1900 889 91.2%
1910 1,141 28.3%
1920 1,267 11.0%
1930 2,047 61.6%
1940 2,080 1.6%
1950 2,162 3.9%
1960 2,524 16.7%
1970 2,996 18.7%
1980 3,155 5.3%
1990 3,173 0.6%
2000 2,987 −5.9%
2010 2,688 −10.0%
Est. 2016 2,603 [3] −3.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]
2013 Estimate[18]

As of the census[19] of 2000, there were 2,987 people, 1,172 households, and 787 families residing in the city. The population density was 192.0 people per square mile (74.1/km²). There were 1,353 housing units at an average density of 86.9 per square mile (33.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.65% White, 39.94% Black or African American, 0.07% Asian, 2.85% from other races, and 0.50% from two or more races. 3.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.

There were 1,172 households out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 22.1% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 23.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,266, and the median income for a family was $37,917. Males had a median income of $26,250 versus $20,603 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,215. About 17.3% of families and 21.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.1% of those under age 18 and 29.6% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[19] of 2010, there were 2,688 people, 1,077 households, and 699 families residing in the city. The population density was 192.0 people per square mile (74.1/km²). There were 1,255 housing units at an average density of 80.4 per square mile (31.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 54.4% White, 41.4% Black or African American, 1.0% Asian, 2.0% from other races, and 1.2% from two or more races. 3.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.

There were 1,077 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.1% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 23.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,533, and the median income for a family was $39,167. Males had a median income of $36,630 versus $25,302 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,756. About 16.2% of families and 18.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.2% of those under age 18 and 17.8% of those age 65 or over.

Government[edit]

Abbeville is governed via a mayor-council government. The mayor is elected at-large. The city council consists of five members who are each elected from single-member districts.

Media[edit]

Abbeville is served by one radio station, WESZ-LP.

Education[edit]

Abbeville is a part of the Henry County Public Schools system. It operates the Abbeville High School and the Abbeville Elementary School.

Abbeville Christian Academy is a private high school in the city.

Transportation[edit]

Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound Lines.[20]

Representation in other media[edit]

  • Faye Walker Howell is developing a film, Tumbleton Road, about the early 20th history of Henry County.[11]

Notable people[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 17, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Alabama". United States Census Bureau. 2008-07-10. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data for Abbeville city, Alabama". U.S. Census Bureau. 2010. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ Climate Summary for Abbeville, Alabama
  7. ^ http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2505
  8. ^ a b Oprah Winfrey, "Inside the memorial to victims of lynching", 60 Minutes, 08 April 2018; accessed 11 April 2018
  9. ^ "Suspect Lynched by Alabama Mob". The Washington Post. 3 February 1937. 
  10. ^ "No Indictments on Alabama Lynchers; Impeachment?". Atlanta Daily World. 12 February 1937. 
  11. ^ a b Lance Griffin, "Dothan resident featured in 60 Minutes segment with Oprah; set to air Sunday", Dothan Eagle, 06 April 2018; accessed 11 April 2018
  12. ^ Lynching in America/ Supplement: Lynchings by County, 3rd edition, Montgomery, Alabama: Equal Justice Initiative, 2015, p. 2
  13. ^ "Alabama Sheriff Saved by Court". The Pittsburgh Courier. 3 July 1937. 
  14. ^ a b McGuire, Danielle L. (2010). At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance. Random House. pp. xv–xvii. ISBN 978-0-307-26906-5. , page 39
  15. ^ "Book Discussion on At the Dark End of the Street". www.c-span.org. C-SPAN. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica Atlas, 1959 Edition, p. 298.
  17. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Archived from the original on 12 May 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 3, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 11 September 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  20. ^ [1]
  21. ^ McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street, p. 39.

External links[edit]

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