Alabama 7th District
Alabama has learned to celebrate its black heritage, building striking memorials to the civil-rights movement in Montgomery and Birmingham, acknowledging its history as ground zero of white resistance to the empowerment of blacks in the 1950s and 1960s. Blacks first came here as slaves. The last slave ship to the United States, the Clotilde, docked in Mobile in 1859, where its cargo was then set free. Blacks were part of the great migration into the cotton lands after the Jacksonians swept the Indians out of the Southeast and sent them on their Trail of Tears to what is now Oklahoma. Today, Alabama’s rural African-Americans are still clustered in the Black Belt of fertile dark soil across the center of the state. In Selma, founded by Alabama’s one vice president, William Rufus King, Sheriff Jim Clark’s troops beat up peaceful marchers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in demonstrations that led to the march on Montgomery and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. All 10 of Alabama’s majority-black counties are in the rich farm country of the Black Belt, but most Alabama blacks now live in urban areas—one-quarter in metropolitan Birmingham.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 7th Congressional District of Alabama was created in 1992 as a majority-African-American district. It includes Black Belt counties where the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers flow past old plantations and the catfish industry has thrived, plus part of Tuscaloosa, home of the University of Alabama, and nearby Vance, site of a Mercedes factory. Most of its people are in Birmingham and surrounding Jefferson County. It is 64% African-American, and solidly Democratic. John Kerry won 65%-35% here in 2004, one of his best showings in the Deep South. In 2008, Barack Obama swept each of the Black Belt counties by large margins, including 87%-13% in Macon County, which is in the 3rd District. Overall, he won this district, 74%-26%.