I have here an email from a man who shall remain anonymous. He says:
“Sean, you cannot be serious about moving to Birmingham, Alabama! I’ve lost all respect for you. Anyone who would choose to live in Alabama is a total [beep], I would NEVER move to Alabama by choice.
“I worked in Alabama for 11 years, I’m originally from Brooklyn, and it [Alabama] is the most backwards state… Those people are a bunch of small-minded [beeping beepers] and I’d never move back unless someone paid me a million bucks.”
Call my crazy, but I detect a slightly negative tone in the above letter.
Nevertheless, I won’t get into an argument with the author. Namely, because arguing on the Internet is dangerous business. One grammer mistak can destroy yor entire argumint
As it happens, I’ve visited Brooklyn. It was scary. One night in Brownsville, Brooklyn, I was approached by a man with a knife who was going to rob me. Things were about to get ugly when a local priest finally showed up at the last moment. I didn’t stand a chance against the two of them.
So I’m not going to attempt to change the author’s mind about Alabama, or remind him that most of my family lives here. But I wonder if he realizes how vibrant and unique the Twenty-Second State is.
For starters, Alabama is home to some pivotal American figures such as, Rosa Parks, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, Helen Keller, and James Spann.
Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron learned their trade here. So did Hank Williams Sr.
The nation’s first Mardi Gras celebration took place in Mobile, a whopping 15 years before New Orleans was even filling its diapers.
The Saturn V rocket that put Neil and Buzz on moon was designed in Huntsville.
But alas, it has become trendy to trash-talk Alabama. You see a lot of famous people doing it on TV or in print. Still, what about Alabama’s positives?
Consider this. In addition to being the birthplace of the American Civil Rights movement, Alabama also features the third fastest growing Latino population of any U.S. state.
Meaning, not only is Alabama developing one of the country’s most beautifully diverse and international communities, but the taco trucks in Birmingham will strip the enamel from your teeth.
Something else you might not know. Approximately 70 percent of Alabama is covered in forest. Simply put, there is enough virginal woodland in this state to cover Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
To put it in perspective: Alaska is 48 percent forest; California is 32 percent; Brooklyn is 60 percent parking meters.
And since we’re talking about the woods, Alabama is home to the world famous Tree That Owns Itself.
In 1935, a live oak in Eufaula, Alabama, was granted its freedom by the town mayor. Later the oak was uprooted by a tornado, but a new tree was replanted by the International Paper Company, whereupon the tree received a certificate of freedom, a deed to its property, and a 30-year-fixed mortgage with a low APR.
Alabama has one of the most biodiverse populations of snails—land snails, freshwater snails, sea snails, hors d’oeuvre snails, etc. Forty-three percent of all known snail species live in Alabama.
Meantime, over in Anniston, stands the world’s largest office chair, comprised of 10 metric tons of steel. Call now for our wedding venue rates.
Speaking of steel. Birmingham sits in a 100-mile long anticlinal valley, one of the few places in the world bearing all three ingredients needed to produce iron and steel: coal, limestone, and iron ore.
You want to know what Brooklyn produces? Adam Sandler.
The first 911 call ever dialed was placed in Alabama in 1968, in Haleyville (pop. 4,100). One Friday, Speaker of the House Rankin Fite called the local police station and uttered those eloquent, gracefully spoken words for which history shall always remember him. “Ah, hello?”
Windshield wipers were invented in Alabama. In the winter of 1903, Mary Anderson was forced to visit New York City against her will. There, she rode a streetcar. When the motorman stopped the vehicle to wipe snow from his windshield, Anderson’s first reaction was something to the tune of: “What’s all that white stuff?”
“Haven’t you ever seen snow?” the motorman said.
“I’m from Alabama,” she said.
Then, after a few minutes, Anderson came up with the idea for a mechanically operated automotive blade that, someday, technicians at Jiffy Lube would charge upwards of $63 to replace.
Dothan, Alabama, is the “Peanut Capital of the World”. Half of the peanuts in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan. This means that if there is a jar of JIF, Skippy, Peter Pan in your cabinet, you owe a Dothan farmer a thank-you card.
Over in Magnolia Springs, Alabama, is the only U.S. Mail river-route. My wife used to live in Magnolia Springs before we were married. Her mail was delivered via bass boat every day.
There are 191 boxes along the 31-nautical-mile Magnolia Star River Route. All mail receptacles are located on river docks. This means that river residents are often able to check their mailboxes without once releasing their beers.
Oh, I could go on about Alabama, but I’m running out of room. I could tell you how in Shelby County, Habitat for Humanity workers hold the world record for the fastest home construction (3 hours, 26 minutes, and 34 seconds).
I could tell you how the only historically confirmed case of a meteorite colliding with a human being happened in Oak Grove, in 1954. I could tell you how in 1836 Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas as a legal holiday.
But you don’t want to hear these things because you hate it here. And you wouldn’t move back unless someone paid you a “million bucks.”
Well, I’ve never been so grateful not to be a millionaire.
PMc - February 3, 2022 7:17 am
Sean and Jamie a fresh start happens every morning here in Birmingham and I’m grateful to have ya’ll. Peace and Love from Birmingham
Robin Williams - February 3, 2022 10:35 pm
You tell ‘em , Sean, while I pat my foot! I love it.
Steve - March 14, 2022 2:41 pm
I happy that you know how many snails there are and how deep and lush the forrest is. All great and lovely things. But that’s not generally the first thing popping in to peoples minds when they hear the mention of Alabama. The first usually is what it is for most of the southern states. Racism. Oh. But don’t worry it’s not just that, also treason. As you constantly remind everyone of losing the civil war. You still have it on the state flag. And just a tip from one white male to another, as I think you may consider it more coming from one of your own, You may not want to take credit for people who made advancements in civil and human rights if your state was not responsible for withholding those civil rights to begin with.Alabama is a lush and beautiful state if the people that lived there would concentrate more on that it could be a great travel destination.
Beverly in SC - March 16, 2022 7:45 pm
And now there’s Brenda Gantt in Andalusia teaching us all how to make those biscuits you love!
Gale Smith - February 3, 2022 7:19 am
Having traveled most of my adult life, I have learned there are many worse places to be than
Alabama. I am glad those who chose to stay away, do so. I hope they never discover all the things we take for granted here. I have stood knee deep in snow, scraping off my windshield with a plastic credit card. I have been stuck in two and three hour traffic jams. I have had thugs break into my home, knowing people were there.
None of these things happened to me in Alabama. These could happen here, but snow is a rarity, traffic comes to a standstill out of respect when a funeral procession passes by, and our robbers want to make sure no one is home. We all have guns and learn to use them in grade school.
Joann - February 3, 2022 6:24 pm
You had me until the last sentence.
Mary - October 14, 2022 12:17 pm
I like Alabama. I love the South. (I’m a transplanted Yank). But you mention traffic. Traveling through Birmingham, going North or South, I have set in traffic for an hour; I have been detoured around Birmingham which added an hour to my trip. So, much of your state doesn’t deal with traffic but Birmingham does. 👍🏻♥️
Lois Ruth Easley - February 3, 2022 7:28 am
Being “torn” about leaving your Florida is easily understood. Having lived in both Florida & Alabama plus originally being a “yankee”….oh your agony is understood. My suggestion is to do what you & your wife need to do! All of your readers will look forward to your thoughts & adventures wherever you are!
Lucretia Jones - February 3, 2022 8:06 am
Yeah, Sean! Oh, how I love Alabama! Native born and reared within her beautiful boundaries!
Rich pearson - February 3, 2022 1:17 pm
No mention of the Freedom Trail, To Kill A Mockingbird., or the Legacy Museum in Montgomery. Hmmm
Carol - February 3, 2022 8:29 am
Loved your response….next time though be sure and mention Bear Bryant!
Karen Erwin-Brown - February 3, 2022 8:41 am
whew, tell me more of what I didn’t know. I grew up in Birmingham, went to school at The University, and lived in Alabama for years. I’m a West Point, GA girl now but everyone in the south knows even though I’ve lived in this home for 21 years I’ll never be “from here”.
Keith - February 3, 2022 8:57 am
Grew up in Los Angles, got off the Army bus here at 18 and knew I was home. At 64, I wasn’t born here, but I got here as fast as I could!
Cynthia - February 3, 2022 9:59 am
I’ve lived in Huntsville for 40 yrs. I loved it here! As a teacher I’ve taken many workshops that taught me the amazing information you wrote. But I’ve never been so happy to live here as these past 2 years. Living free. We Dare Defend Our Rights.
Penn Wells - February 3, 2022 11:05 am
GO DAWGS! 😁
wfsuga - February 3, 2022 10:25 pm
Thanks Penn! I was born, raised and still live in the Great State of Alabama and I’m damn proud of my state and my heritage. The only time I left the Heart of Dixie was for five wonderful years in Athens, Georgia!! HBTD!!!
Suzanne - February 3, 2022 11:07 am
And my Son also named Sean was born there in 1984. I live in Florida now, but Alabama would my choice if I ever had to move.
Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - February 3, 2022 11:19 am
This column should be required reading for every student in Alabama! Are you really moving to Birmingham? It would be hard to leave the beach. I love your commercials for ALFA!
Ernie Kelly - February 3, 2022 11:34 am
Never lived in Alabama, but we live across the Chattahoochee River from it. My wife was born in Birmingham, and one of my closest friends lives in Hoover. I get the feeling it’ll be one of the best places you ever lived. Blessings.
D Childs - February 3, 2022 11:39 am
Great response. My only concern with Alabama is state income tax. Florida native but lived in a state for three years that had state and municipal taxes. It was a bit annoying.
Peggy - February 3, 2022 11:41 am
Great response!!! Agree with Carol….don’t forget to mention Paul Bear Bryant! I’ll add Nick Saban, too! Also the University of Alabama and Auburn University! Enjoy your writings!
Jana Killen - February 3, 2022 11:41 am
God Bless You, Sean!!! Thank you for speaking up for THE STATE I LOVE!
Born and raised in the Dixie State,
CHARALEEN WRIGHT - February 3, 2022 11:43 am
jaystrings23 - February 3, 2022 11:49 am
I was born in northwest GA, just 4 miles from AL. Grew up about 12 miles east of “the line” on Hiway 78. Since those years in the 50’s, I lived in Atlanta for over 30 years & NJ for 8. Every time you shake my family tree a bunch of Auburn grads fall out – now all very success adults in GA, TN, & NC. My business and military years have taken me around the world, including some of the most poverty-stricken, trashy, dangerous places. All these people pouring into this country – legally and illegally – are trying to experience the beauty and opportunities of places like Alabama. So much so that they’d leave everything behind and walk for weeks to get here. Now I’ve never actually lived in Alabama, but I know what was only a few miles away was and still is one of our country’s bright spots. To be fair, Sean did omit one important thing that lies in northern Alabama and it draws visitors from all over the USA: the only Coon Dog Cemetery. The graves and tombstones there hold the remains of beloved coon dogs from everywhere, not just Alabama. An awesome and humbling experience to visit. One of my true heroes in life is still Bear Bryant. He created winners, a proud tradition that continues today. Though I’ve never been an Alabama resident, it feels like home. There as many reasons to proudly live there as anywhere else in the world. Period.
Anne Arthur - February 3, 2022 11:55 am
You have 90% convinced me that moving to Bama is a great move. If only they had a beach… 😉
Liz Bishop - February 3, 2022 12:31 pm
We do have a beach in Alabama! How about Gulf Shores and beautiful Fairhope??
Jo Henra - February 3, 2022 11:59 pm
My favorite place on earth is Dauphin Island, AL. Born and raised in Troy and though I have been gone for 45 years, as the singing group Alabama sings, My Home’s In Alabama!
RJW - February 3, 2022 1:25 pm
Alabama has a beautiful beach, Gulf Shores
Alan - February 3, 2022 1:48 pm
One of the best and prettiest beaches in America is Orange Beach, Alabama. Look it up. You just might move!
Cindy - February 3, 2022 7:39 pm
Alabama has beautiful beaches. If you want crowded and high rise condos but great sea food then Gulf Shores or Orange Beach is your place. Great biking trails too. But if you prefer less crowds and beach houses then definitely Fort Morgan or Daulphin Island.
Carolyn Kelley - February 3, 2022 11:57 am
Got to love the south
Laurie Anderson - February 3, 2022 11:59 am
Hey Sean, Athens, Georgia has earlier claim -19th century – to a tree that owned itself (see the Wikipedia entry, or Google it). The one in Alabama may be world famous but I was only aware of the one in Athens. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_That_Owns_Itself
Lisa K Riley - February 3, 2022 12:01 pm
Sean, you rock. Looks like Alabama will be happy to have you.
Liz Petty - February 3, 2022 12:11 pm
A man in Topeka, Kansas decided to write a book about churches around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco and started working east from there. Going to a very large church, he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign, which read “Calls: $10,000 a minute.” Seeking out the pastor he asked about the phone and the sign.
The pastor answered that this golden phone is, in fact, a direct line to heaven and if he pays the price he can talk directly to GOD. The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. As he continued to visit churches in Seattle, Houston, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and many cities and towns all around the United States, he found more phones same sign, and the same answer from each pastor.
Finally, he arrived in Huntsville, Al. Upon entering a church in the beautiful state of Alabama, behold, he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign read “Calls: 35 cents”.
Fascinated, he asked to talk to the pastor, “Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found this golden telephone and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to GOD, but in the other churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads only 35 cents a call. Why?”
I love this part …
The pastor, smiling broadly, replied, “Son, you’re in Alabama now – you’re in God’s Country. It’s a local call.”
American by Birth, An Alabamian by the Grace of God.
And why do Alabamians go barefoot?
Cause, when you’re in Alabama, you’re on Holy ground!
Deborah - February 3, 2022 1:56 pm
Harriet White - February 3, 2022 4:36 pm
OH!!!! I LOVE THIS. It’s a local call in Gods Country!
Susan Fitch - February 3, 2022 5:15 pm
Debra D Hudson - February 6, 2022 2:48 am
AWESOME!!! I love it!!
Jean - February 3, 2022 12:12 pm
I do not live in Alabama but it’s a fav place especially Tuscaloosa and Orange Beach. Obviously he had no intention of liking it.
His loss. ROLL TIDE ROLL!!
Joy Jacobs - February 3, 2022 12:13 pm
It’s a beautiful state. 😁
Kathy - February 3, 2022 12:16 pm
I’m an Alabama native, whose extended family is still in Tuscaloosa, but I’ve lived in the DC area since graduating from U of A 30 years ago. What I’ve learned is that you can’t say “everyone” is like anything. That’s just intellectual laziness. You can find unspeakable beauty and unspeakable ugliness anywhere you are. And that the only people who can claim true moral courage are those who stand up to their own tribe. (Like the civil rights icons you rightly pointed out as heroes in your essay, Sean.) The rest of us are just reading from the script delivered to us at birth. So I guess it’s best the writer moved back to where everyone was reading from his script.
Lee - February 23, 2022 4:50 pm
Kathy, excellent point. One I was going to make. These generalizations, whether positive or negative, don’t do anyone any good except for the author who’s writing them and making money from them. If Sean thinks that the only thing Brooklyn has produced is Adam Sandler, then I feel sorry for his lack of knowledge.
Lee - February 23, 2022 5:19 pm
Kathy,excellent points — I was going to make similar ones. If Sean thinks the only thing Brooklyn has produced is Adam Sandler, I feel sorry for his lack of knowledge.
Cheryl Newsome - February 3, 2022 12:26 pm
I’ve lived in Birmingham AL all my life. We look forward to having you and your wife join us, Sean! (And thanks for the good words about the state. I think half the planet still pictures us sitting on porches of collapsing houses swilling moonshine with shotguns in our laps.)
Bobby - February 3, 2022 12:42 pm
And don’t forget Monroeville which was the inspirational venue for “To Kill a Mockingbird .”
Rhonda - February 3, 2022 12:56 pm
I love you dearly. Two of your articles are in my bible saved for when I am at my lowest. But I respectfully disagree about this state. I can give you 10 examples of the opposite for every positive you mentioned. But if I did someone would put down their beer and shoot me because intelligent conversation is not allowed.
Paul Sams - February 4, 2022 12:52 am
I’ve lived in Alabama all of my life. I won’t shoot you, I don’t even own a gun. There are plenty of good people who would love to have an intelligent conversation with you. Like many places, Alabama is very diverse, and some folks are interesting for all the wrong reasons. There are many things I think we should be doing in Alabama, and our nation. A good place to start is for people to be civil with one another. I admit, there are folks I don’t even attempt to have a civil conversation with, it’s often from past experience with trying to do so. But, I have also met incredible people in Alabama. I grew up when Birmingham was still segregated, and, as a child, I thought that was normal. At 68 years old, I know that was an atrocity. When speaking with people who I perceived as “different from me,” I learned we have so much more in common. One has to open their heart and mind. There are people in Alabama who see only negative things. There are other people who want to make this a better world. I don’t think that is limited to Alabama, I’m sure where ever one travels, they can meet kind and good people. They are often not as noticeable, because don’t have time to hate. We need more people like that in Alabama, and all over the world. I wish you all the best.
Kenneth Mitchell - February 3, 2022 12:57 pm
Not sure how Florida got the panhandle in the first place. Hard to tell it ain’t Alabama…
Vicki Anderson - February 3, 2022 1:13 pm
Born in Alabama, graduated from U of A and left the state for forty years. Lived in Tampa – returned and live in Birmingham. We love the slower pace, the great southern cuisine, day trips and ease of of going to the mountains or the beach. Our car and home insurance dropped drastically. We live in a suburb amd it’s so easy to reach UAB medical facilities but folks say how do y’all like living way out there 🤪. Rent a place before making a decision , a small apartment and learn the areas well before purchasing imo. And we do have Nick Saban ♥️
Diane P Peterson - February 3, 2022 1:15 pm
I live on the Ga/Al line. Alabama is beautiful! You forgot to mention Talladega raceway, the waterfalls, parks. The only thing that makes me go ‘hmmm’ is why do Alabama drivers drive in the left lane 5 miles UNDER the speed limit??? And they won’t move over for you to pass! I’ve also seen a number of Al drivers without their headlights on in the dark! What gives Alabama???
Spurgeon - February 3, 2022 1:15 pm
Beautifully written, as usual, but please don’t educate people about Alabama … they will want to move there. The population for the whole state of Alabama is a little more than half of the population crammed into New York City. As a hope-one-day-to-go-home Alabamian, I prefer it stay that way.
J Nearen - February 3, 2022 1:18 pm
Thanks Sean from all of us bucked-tooth denizens calling Bama home. BTW, he can keep his AOC voting butt up North. After all, it is working so well for him.
Lee - February 23, 2022 5:38 pm
I assume “J Nearen” is referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez although he may not actually know her name or anything about her. She does not represent the district that Brooklyn is in, so his rant about a Brooklyn guy keeping “his AOC voting butt up North” is typically ill-informed. He couldn’t vote for her even if he wanted to. And since he’s now about to mention voting fraud, most of the small amount of “fraud” that was found was done by Trump voters (like the guy who used his dead grandmother’s ballot). At least “AOC” didn’t call up election officials and ask them to “find 11,780 votes”. I would darn sure vote for her before I’d vote for any of those despicable sycophants who are currently crapping on the airwaves with their political ads pandering to the lowest common denominator. Welcome to Alabama, Sean … home of the marginalized moderate. It IS a beautiful state, with wonderful people. But I’ve lived here 70 years and a lot of us are concerned with things more important than where a windshield wiper was invented, a large chair, or a “free” tree.
Rick G - August 3, 2022 1:54 pm
One comment to the above – “2000 Mules” – there is information you haven’t yet discovered.
Janice McCall - February 3, 2022 1:22 pm
Love your reply to Brooklyn!! I was born and raised in B’ham. On Sundays, Daddy, Mother and I explored our state. So much beauty. I hope you get to explore Alabama. I’ve lived in Florida since 1971, but visit family annually. Can’t explain the feeling when we cross the state line. If you haven’t already discovered “Alabama The Beautiful” facebook page, check it out when you get the chance.
Debbie Schmidt - February 3, 2022 1:26 pm
Dismal’s Canyon in NW Alabama is a ‘Designated Natural Landmark’ and one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I’d love to see you take your words and paint a picture of this unique and breathtaking canyon.
Don Helton - February 3, 2022 1:33 pm
You forgot to mention that the State had a notable increase in its attraction when he moved out.
Rebecca Spann - February 3, 2022 1:42 pm
Thank you for defending our beautiful and diverse state. If you don’t like our state, please stay put in Brooklyn. Been there, done that, and no need for a t-shirt. I will take the Alabama climate, politics, and people over your precious New York.
Jan - February 3, 2022 1:53 pm
Thank you for your defense of the state I was born in and have lived in for my entire life except for one miserable year in Washington, D.C. I have visited Brooklyn and have no desire to return even for 15 minutes. I love my home state of Alabama and have no desire to live anywhere else. We have great food, great views everywhere you look and most of all great people!
Deborah - February 3, 2022 1:55 pm
Born and raised in GA but within spitting distance of the AL line. Both parent’s families are Alabamians so I definitely claim Alabama. Roll Tide. Now I have something to be more excited about. I absolutely love snails and had no idea AL was snail central.
Rebecca Barnes - February 3, 2022 7:06 pm
Look up E. O. Wilson- Alabama biologist.
Paul McCutchen - February 3, 2022 2:05 pm
My cousin lives in Hoover. He was born raised and even went to the University of Alabama. His dad (my Uncle) played for Alabama after the second world war.
Karen - February 3, 2022 2:12 pm
Well said. I live in Greenville, SC. My sister and her family live in auburn. I am 58. When I retire I am moving to Alabama, to Notsougla. I cannot spell it and can’t say it correctly either. I say Notsougly!!
Alabama seems to me to be one of the last places where I can be free to be an American!!! Thanks Sean!
Lee - February 23, 2022 5:53 pm
So Karen says ” Alabama seems to me to be one of the last places where I can be free to be an American!!!”. Then you obviously have not been to many places. This idiocy about America, and particularly, Alabama being the only place where you are “free” is complete nonsense and it needs to stop. I’ve been to almost every US state and to most of Europe. I am “free” in all of those places and so are the people who live there. You probably don’t want to hear this, but the quality & standard of living in the “United States” doesn’t make the ‘top 10’ list and hasn’t for a long time. I love my state. I want to make it better by overcoming these narrow-minded attitudes and “alternate facts”. I hope the “beautifully diverse” communities that Sean mentioned will help accomplish that — if their votes aren’t negated by gerrymandering.
Lulu - February 3, 2022 2:18 pm
Don’t forget, Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Kia, Airbus, and Sister Schubert’s rolls are all made in Alabama. In addition to being the home of NASA, the state also hosts the Air War College at Maxwell AFB and the helicopter training school at Ft. Rucker. Somehow, the adjective ‘ignorant’ leaves me wondering who these folks are talking about.
Cathy M - February 3, 2022 2:23 pm
We can’t wait to have you and Jamie for supper in our fair city. It will have to be a secret bc my dining room is not large enough to seat all the people I know who will beg for an invite. I can seat ten so after my husband, you and Jaimie, there are six lucky people who will join us. Yes, I am using my fine China, silver and linen napkins. Only the best for you and Jamie. Birmingham is ready to welcome you with open arms👏
Pamala J Brayton - February 3, 2022 2:25 pm
And what about The Swampers of Muscle Shoals, Alabama?
Cindy - February 3, 2022 2:29 pm
You tell ‘em Sean!! Born and raised in Alabama and you taught me many Alabama attributes I did not know. Good luck with your house hunt and we are delighted to have you here in the “Ham”.
Trudy - February 3, 2022 2:33 pm
I’m traveling to Tupelo for a wedding March 3 from NC. Plan to stop in Birmingham to eat at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. I’ll buy yours and Jamie’s lunch if you meet me.
Also, you didn’t mention Alabama football.
Gloria Ryan - February 3, 2022 2:33 pm
Cynthia Lynn Staton - February 3, 2022 2:34 pm
I was born and raised in Alabama the Beautiful. Lived here all my life. Will never leave. Unlike the guy from Brooklyn, I don’t think everyone else in the USA is ignorant, uncouth and backward just because they don’t think or live like me. I agree with the comments above – he can stay in Brooklyn. We don’t need him in Alabama. We have a lot of great people here and life is good! Sean, come on up to Alabama. We love you and will treat you like royalty because you are so special. Alabama loves you and Jamie.
Kenny Godwin - February 3, 2022 2:37 pm
Glad to hear you are hopping the line!
Bkr - February 3, 2022 2:44 pm
Whoo hoo!! You go! We live in Alabama and love it of course. Even our daughter who had to move to Alabama because of husband/job and swore she would never live in Alabama has grown to love it. Loved the facts you shared. Some I didnt know! Anyway thanks for standing up for our sweet home!!
Judy - February 3, 2022 2:52 pm
Great response. I have been and lived all over our beautiful country, but I chose Alabama to be home. When someone asks if I could choose to live any other place, where would it be? – I have a hard time thinking of anywhere I would choose to move….but Brooklyn never comes to mind as a possibility. 🌻
Mimi Phillips - February 3, 2022 2:53 pm
Sean, I was surprised to learn you are moving to the urban environment of Birmingham. I have nothing against Alabama, and have found Birmingham to be quite pleasant.
I grew up in Atlanta/Decatur Georgia; I was witness to its transition from what was once called a big country town into the megalopolis it is today.
I was granted a ten year reprieve from the stress-filled life the city had become. I went to live in the northeast Georgia mountains. My little town of Clayton had three traffic lights! There wasn’t a time called rush hour, unless you count Friday evenings when the “flatlanders” came in droves seeking a little respite from the city’s stress.
I loved my mountains! There were times when I actually stopped in my tracks to give thanks for this place I’d found.
The vagaries of life stepped in and suffice it to say that I unwillingly returned to the city. I just want to ask you, from my 30,000 foot perspective of the 81 years I’ve spent on this planet, please be absolutely certain that you can walk away from the peace and comfort of the rural life you’ve embraced. Shiplap and subway tile will be out of style before you know it.
Linda Crawford - February 3, 2022 2:54 pm
Sorry, but the writer of that email is a dumbass.
Elizabeth Crane - February 3, 2022 3:11 pm
Wonderful!! Thank you. I love living here. Grew up near Decatur and now live in Birmingham. Went to Birmingham-Southern College and stayed. (The fact he’s from Brooklyn is ‘nuff said!). Lol.
Debbie g - February 3, 2022 3:13 pm
So thankful to not be a millionaire either😀😀😀😀😀love you Sean and Jamie
Joan Mitchell - February 3, 2022 3:16 pm
So glad to know you’re moving to our state, and thank you for the list of Alabama positives. I learned things! Birmingham is a classy city and will welcome you with love and maybe too many requests to entertain its many groups with your delightful insightful humor! Another lovely thing about Alabama is Lake Martin. It is Birmingham’s playground and somewhere you should visit if you start missing those Florida bodies of water. It is our second home, the first being Montgomery, where we will get busy to entice you to come speak to us. Welcome welcome!❤️
Slim Bob - February 3, 2022 3:20 pm
Sean, you were right not to argue with the author. Like the old saying goes, “argue with an idiot and they will wear you down to their level (mental) and beat you with years of experience.”
Ann Williams - February 3, 2022 3:24 pm
Thank you for the Defense of my beloved Alabama. Another little known fact is that Alabama pioneered public TV or Educational TV as it was known then: http://encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2566
The first station was atop Cheaha Mtn (part of the Appalachians – another little known fact) as it was the highest point in Alabama. And it was just 20 miles south of my home town, Anniston.
I’m so happy that you’re moving to Alabama and I hope that you have a good, good move.
Stacey Wallace - February 3, 2022 3:31 pm
Sean, thank you for that eloquent defense of Sweet Home Alabama. From what I’ve seen about Brooklyn during the pandemic, I wouldn’t move there for any amount of money; I might get shot or mugged. I was born and raised in Alexander City, Alabama (“Eleck City” to the locals). I am now blessed to reside In Auburn, the Loveliest Village on the Plains. Clueless in Brooklyn obviously never visited North Alabama and admired the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Nor did he notice the beautiful white sand beaches of Gulf Shores or Orange Beaches. Last, he never met the fine, wonderful folks of my beloved home state. Poor him. Thanks, Sean! Love to you and Jamie.
Leigh Ellen Browning - February 3, 2022 3:33 pm
Don’t forget Lake Martin! Excited to have you in the Birmingham area. Alabama is not for everyone, thank goodness!
AlaRedClayGirl - February 3, 2022 3:36 pm
To add to the comment above about the Swampers in Muscle Shoals. The Swampers, immortalized in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Sweet Home Alabama”, is referring to the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (studio musicians) that played on many hit songs from artists such as Bob Seger, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Dylan, Staple Singers, Wilson Picket, etc. Muscle Shoals is till making music, and there are tours you can take to visit the studios. There is also the Alabama Music Hall of Fame located in nearby Tuscumbia. And every year The Shoals celebrates W.C. Handy with music venues everywhere.
Sheri - February 3, 2022 3:44 pm
I miss my AL friends. We lived there 28 years and were blessed to have been there, I’m certain that y’all will find your way and the people will embrace y’all just like they did us. I was a young 23 year old and knew no one. The folks there loved me and made me feel right at home. Hope you enjoy all the beautiful landscapes and change of seasons. It’s a great place to be. God bless.
Patricia Gibson - February 3, 2022 4:00 pm
Love Alabama and all the States in the USA. They each have good and bad qualities. Some I would live in and some not. I know about being trashed as I am a Mississippian and now live in Georgia. Not sure when criticizing others became popular but wish it would stop. Love to all my fellow states❤️
Harriet White - February 3, 2022 4:03 pm
AND… my aunt lives in Albertville, Alabama which is THE place where ALL the Fire Hydrants are made!!
I love ❤️ Alabama!
Matt Beebe - February 3, 2022 4:19 pm
RE-mail river postal route
Sean- there is a USPS river route in Hell’s Canyon Idaho- been running many years-look it up
Daisy - February 3, 2022 4:26 pm
I grew up in Bham. There was a jingle on one of the radio stations there, “Birmimgham, Birmimgham; that’s my hometown””. Have loved in Atlanta now longer than Bham, and I would love to go back!
Glenda Busby-Fowler Hinkle - February 3, 2022 4:34 pm
From one born and raised and lived in Alabama for 75 years, I’m quite satisfied to keep Alabama “our little secret” from folks like the person who wouldn’t live here unless “someone gave him a million bucks.” Just say, “you’re right, ignoramus” you need to stay where you are!!
Michelle Bethune - February 3, 2022 4:44 pm
I recently moved to Alabama (the thing we do for love) and I am shocked and amazed at how in love with this place I am! Alabama is so beautiful and the people are so lovely. Before moving here, I had a similar conversation with a woman who couldn’t believe that I would move to such a backward place….racist, poor education, you know, all the things. My response: I am me wherever I go and if we all stayed still, how can we make things better? She was from Wyoming by the way.
Cynthia Russell - February 3, 2022 4:45 pm
THANK YOU SEAN.. I GET A LOT!!! OF GRIEF BEING FROM ALABAMA & LIVING IN LOUISIANA… I DO HAVE MY PLOT OF LAND 3 FOOT WIDE & 6′ DEEP WHERE MY RESTING PLACE WILL BE ONE DAY.. BUT HOPEFULLY NOT FOR A LONG WHILE.. HECK, IM ONLY 69, FEELIN’ FINE, WITH A CUTE BEHIND.. I LOVE VISITING OTHER PLACES & they ask me Where Are You From… Then I know I really need to Wang my accent out – HA HA!! I knew most of the facts that you stated.. but learned a few also.. one day maybe I can return & live before I take up that final resting place.. & hopefully find a little cottage, with a nice flower garden & vegetable garden to enjoy my old days in.. YOU BLESS MY HEART, MIND & SOUL EVERY DAY!! THANK YOU !!!
Judy Myers - February 3, 2022 4:47 pm
Well said – and thank you Sean from a native Alabaman
Kathy - February 3, 2022 4:48 pm
We moved to Alabama in 1985 from Columbus, Ohio (my home state). I have made some of my best friends here. I don’t like the poverty and disrespect for the environment. My politics are definitely out of place. But it is a beautiful state. There are so many things I love about Alabama.
Paul Sams - February 4, 2022 5:34 am
I’ve lived in Alabama all of my life. My politics are out of place with a lot of folks. But, I have met plenty of other folks here who have opinions close to mine. We should care more about those who live in poverty.
Sharon Goree - February 3, 2022 5:11 pm
Not to mention the most beautiful beaches and mountains in the US. Plus Alabama, Roll Tide, bragging rights to having earned the most SEC championships and Auburn who despite being fierce rivals, when a tornado reaped massive damage to Tuscaloosa and the AL campus, Auburn’s football spent at least a day, maybe more, working their butts off to help clean up. I’m proud of our state and the people in it.
phil B - February 3, 2022 5:31 pm
well done, Sean. Ignorance abounds.
Vince - February 3, 2022 5:39 pm
As I started reading the rant at the beginning of today’s column it just sounded super familiar. You see, I’m currently stuck in the ‘NY metro area’ even though I’m an hour away.. 3 or 4 if you add in traffic. I hear this sort of tripe about everyplace between this coast and LA. Many hereabouts do believe there is a real place called ‘fly over country’ and that it is filled with low IQ, teeth missing, uneducated rubes. Guess they don’t know where exactly their food comes from after all. Sean, if you have a spare mil I’ll take it so I can get out of New England. Alabama wasn’t really on my list of places to go but it will do nicely. Heck, I already love ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ so looks like I’m off to a good start, no?
Denise Cheke - February 3, 2022 5:45 pm
Sean…I’ve never been to Alabama. I’ve never been to Florida either. But I have traveled to a lot of places and here’s what I know. There is crime everywhere. There are people who hate, who struggle and who are downright unpleasant everywhere. But I also know this..
There is beauty everywhere. There are good and kind and strong and brave people everywhere if only we open our eyes and our hearts to see them. And anywhere is home, a wonderous place to live, if we believe it to be so. Especially with a loved one at our side. Don’t let the naysayers discourage you and Jamie. God be with you in your new adventure!
Te - February 3, 2022 5:55 pm
Alabama is widely diverse, from the lower Appalachians in the north to the Gulf coast in the south. Never cared for Birmingham: never drove through that I didn’t get lost! You think Atlanta is bad about street names? Lots of smaller towns with charm and character (of which Birmingham is not one). I always thought the idea for the pie in the movie, “The Help,” was inspired by events in Alabama. Iconic musicians Nat Kind Cole and Dinah Washington were born there. And then there’s Huntsville. NASA took it from a small cotton town (10,000 population) in 1950 to a booming, international metropolis with the coldest public pool water known to man (delicious when it’s 110F). The curse of modernization destroyed its charming public courthouse square. It was the first place I was fascinated by a water fountain labeled “colored,” but I never did find out what color the water was. (Mama wouldn’t allow me to touch it.)
Linda Moon - February 3, 2022 5:56 pm
You know those dreams we sometimes have just before waking up? I had one this morning. Here it is: ‘I was walking on a nice indoor track. I had a peanut butter sandwich in a baggie to snack on when I finished. Well, an old lady saw me open the bag as I began to eat…BEFORE washing my hands! She abruptly walked to up me and squished sanitizer onto my hands just as I was about to put them on the good gooey squishy sandwich and ruined it for me!’ So here’s the message from my dream to you: ‘Don’t let anybody mess with your PBJ or your Birmingham plans through bribes or argumentative Internet stuff!’ I’m proud to say that my childhood home was on Alabama Avenue and I live in my adult Alabama home now!
Emily - February 3, 2022 5:57 pm
Thank you. I get so much hate from friends and family for moving to Alabama. It’s beautiful here, but I would never tell them that! Gotta keep out the crazies. I don’t want this state over taken by Californians fleeing their state to try and force the same ideals on the countryside I’ve come to love down here
H. J. Patterson - February 3, 2022 6:01 pm
Enough everyone! Please quit with all the good things about the Heart of Dixie. The last thing we need is the truth to get out and then all these south hating loony libs might change their mind and decide to relocate to the best kept secret in the lower 48. They’re welcome here but need to leave their crazy politics back at their old crib, after all, that’s why they’re leaving.
Thames - February 3, 2022 6:02 pm
And again, all I can say is I love you, Sean.
Jim Clayton - February 3, 2022 6:32 pm
Born in Florida, raised in Alabama, now live in Texas and love ’em all! Alabama is much maligned, but usually by people who have never been there.
One more thing to add -North Alabama has some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. See Little River Canyon, DeSoto State Falls, and many beautiful lakes. Finally, if you’re stranded in Brooklyn and approached by strangers, you’ll probably be robbed. If that happens in Alabama, they’re gonna ask you if you need help.
Gordon - February 3, 2022 6:35 pm
What a great defense of my home state-Alabama. Thank you for pointing out only a few of the great qualities of this state. And you didn’t even get going about the wonderful, down-to-earth good ol’ folks of Alabama. We are fine! Welcome to Alabama Sean and Jaime. I’m glad you are here.
Page Robertson - February 3, 2022 6:35 pm
Welcome, welcome to Birmingham! We have wonderful friendly neighborhoods, great food, and the finest healthcare system in the world. UAB saved my husband with great specialists and I had my hip replaced as an outpatient! We are from NC, moved here 40 years ago. Best decision ever! Only we were told we had to declare for U of A or AU. Decided we would pull for both. Hope you all will be happy, and our paths will cross.
Barbara - February 3, 2022 6:46 pm
It would take more than a million bucks for me to leave Alabama! And I can’t even begin to think how much it would take for me to move to Brooklyn. Visited many times but no way Jose.
Rhonda - February 3, 2022 6:57 pm
Bet he went after a southern Belle who wouldn’t give him the time of day.
Sean of the South: In Defense of Alabama | The Trussville Tribune - February 3, 2022 7:29 pm
[…] By Sean Dietrich, Sean of the South […]
Edna H. Isdell - February 3, 2022 8:07 pm
I am originally from Tuscaloosa AL and thank you for the history lesson. We natives have a lot to brag about.
johnallenberry - February 3, 2022 8:21 pm
Thank you, Sean! I’ve lived her almost all my life save for about 5 years divided between Mississippi and Georgia and I LOVE it here. Now, anybody want to start up a go fund me page to keep that feller out of our state for good and finance Sean’s candidacy for governor?
Allen Berry - February 3, 2022 8:23 pm
Thank you, Sean! I’ve lived her all my life, save for five years between Mississippi and Georgia, and I love it here. Couldn’t have said it better m’self! Anybody wanna start up a Go Fund Me campaign to keep that so and so OUT of Alabama and to back Sean’s candidacy for Governor?
Jenny+Young - February 3, 2022 9:01 pm
Oh my……I love this! Can you do a defense for every state in the union? I was born in West Virginia & live in Arkansas…imagine trying to combine those two accents! No one can understand me.
Sandra - February 3, 2022 9:37 pm
Sean, thank you for all of your kind words and information about Alabama. I was born and raised in Alabama, matter of fact in Haleyville Alabama. Where 911 began, most people don’t know where it began. Proud to have been born and raised there. ROLL TIDE ROLL 🐘🏈🐘
Pat Deas - February 3, 2022 9:57 pm
Amen my friend…Born and raised in Montgomery also known as Mungomery we don’t usually pronounce the T…Although I have lived in Florida for fifty five years ALABAMA will always be home…
Karen - February 3, 2022 10:14 pm
I think you took care of that matter very nicely. Wishing you and your wife the very best as you make this big move.
MAM - February 3, 2022 10:38 pm
You told him off very kindly! But I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want to live where people like the letter writer live! So be very glad he’s not moving where you will be moving. I’m a born Texan, not living there at the moment, but my heart is still there. I’m afraid I’ve never been to Alabama, except for traveling through on the way to South Carolina, where my sister-in-law lives, but I love “suuhthun” accents. My mom, born and raised in east Texas, used to say she could turn any one-syllable word into two or three. My family always knew instantly who I was talking to when I answered the phone and it was Mom. I went right along with her accent.
Paul J Redhead - February 3, 2022 10:51 pm
You can also remind this Brooklyn kuncklehead that the Wright Brothers established their first commercial flying school in Montgomery which is now Maxwell Air Force Base, home of Air University, the Intellectual and Leadership Center for the Air Force. Also, the first electric streetcar was here in Montgomery called the Lightening Route, and the first open heart surgery was performed here. Montgomery is the home of the two most cataclysmic events in our great Nation’s history, birth of the Civil Rights movement and the telegram ordering Fort Sumter to be fired on was issued from the Winter Building in Montgomery, the first shot of the civil War. There are many other things about Alabama too numerous to mention here. However, the media has really done a disservice to Alabama with how it is portrayed. Brooklyn is so bad that the Dodgers left for LA.
joyce Daniels - February 3, 2022 10:55 pm
You go, Sean. I am very grateful that he is back in Brooklyn where he belongs. I am sure there are lovely people in Brooklyn. Unlike our “friend” here, I do not judge an entire section of New York by one idiot unlike some people judge an entire state.
Bill Richardson - February 3, 2022 11:10 pm
Sean, thanks for standing up for Alabama I represent a company located in Brooklyn and most of the people are good people, but you find people everywhere
that can’t say anything nice. Most of the people that work at this company are much like us and have travel to our Gulf Coast to vacation. They like Alabama and some want to retire here. I have traveled most of the world and most of our states and I still think Alabama is a great place to live. If you move to Alabama, come take a look at Leeds. We are located less than fifteen minutes from downtown Birmingham. We have BASS Pro. Barber’s Motor Sports and housing is affordable, besides you can come drink coffee with us every Wed. morning.
Nancy Pritchett hood - February 4, 2022 12:09 am
A wealth of information! Thanks for defending my beautiful home state! Lots of creative folks call Alabama home!
Tom - February 4, 2022 1:53 am
All people bring joy to Alabama, some when they come- some when they leave. I would bet a week’s pay check that Will Roger’s never met this Brooklyn feller.
Hilda Lyzette Loew - February 4, 2022 2:42 am
Wonderful response Sean ! I never dreamt as a 19 yr.old in Basic training at Fort McClellan in Anniston that 21 yrs later I’d wind up living my life in Alabama ! The military brought us here and here we are 22 yrs later. Redstone Arsenal was my husband’s last duty station before retiring !
Alice - February 4, 2022 3:07 am
Dear Sean I am not from here but have lived here for 55 years and I love it I love being able to see cows in the fields and lots of trees there are so many beautiful flowers I am thankful everyday that my first husband was from Ozark Al and brought me here !i cannot imagine living up north with all the cold and snow!!Thank you Sean for all your writing love you love Alabama❤️❤️
Buddy Caudill - February 4, 2022 4:52 am
How many folks do you know who retired and moved “up north “??
Anne Trawick - February 4, 2022 6:00 am
Growing up in SW Georgia, about 15 miles from Alabama, entitled me to a bit of pride for our area when I read your reply to Brooklynite. Sean, if we’re backward, praise God.
Allen - February 4, 2022 1:40 pm
Welcome to Alabama! As a lifelong resident of Alabama when somebody from a “progressive” state calls us “backward” I take that as a high compliment.
Roseann Romans - February 4, 2022 3:34 pm
Excellent!! The best thing is he promised not to ever come back. Sweet Home Alabama. you did it proud.
Robin Moore - February 4, 2022 10:08 pm
Didn’t quite finish my comment.
Best to you and yours, and THANKS for the good daily read,
Robin Moore, living in Concord, MA, the first place where our forefathers beat the pants off of the British
Since living in retirement here with my kids and grand-kids, I’ve learned the Concord is the home of Nathanael Hawthorn, Louisa May Alcott, Minute Man National Park, Walden Pond, and a guy named Bull, who developed the Concord grape
It’s 20 miles west of Boston, and you don’t hear a thing about South Boston being the place where the most vicious fight against integration in the whole country took place. That is Whitey Bolger country. Let’s pray that folks will relax and get used to the future. Things change so fast these days that people don’t have time to adjust. At 88, I don’t understand a lot of new words, much less all of the new things.
Freddi - February 5, 2022 2:42 am
Thank you Sean! I love my Alabama💕
Robin - February 5, 2022 3:02 pm
Thanks to you, Sean, I now know more about the state I’ve spent my life in than I’ve ever known before! I’m grateful to live here, work here, vacation here, celebrate here, and raise my family here!
Sara Brunson - February 5, 2022 6:31 pm
Sean, I’m an Alabama transplant living in Seagrove Beach, Fl. My church is ASFI want you to know how much I enjoyed your beautiful long red hair, music, and voice when you were a part of their staff. I hope to continue to find your columns.
I agree, wholeheartedly with your assessment of the grand state of Alabama. Thank you and enjoy B’ham.
Jayne Holland - February 6, 2022 6:24 pm
Born and grew up in Birmingham. My Mother and Fathers family both came from Alabama. Jasper, Walker County, My fathers name was Laudie Bailey, My Mother was Eloise Sullivan Bailey. (She was a Registered Nurse at Carraway Hospital, Daddy made Dynamite.) I can walk up to any service station in North Alabama, and find a cousin or uncle, or a double first cousin, (get my drift) I worked years in Mobile at a freight company. My grandfather was full blooded American Indian. I now live where my hubby works. (not in Alabama) I do miss Smith lake, water skiing, hunting, and target practice.
Nancy Carnahan - February 9, 2022 11:14 pm
I grew up in North Alabama and left when I joined the AF. Now, yay these many years later, I would move back but I would have to do it without my husband–sometimes, that seems like a good idea! The people are so great.
Susan McCall - February 10, 2022 1:05 am
You go Sean!!
Brent Graves - February 20, 2022 6:44 am
I just want to thank you for your “Defense of Alabama” piece. It was the first thing I’ve read in quite some time to stir my emotions so deeply. I admit that my eyes did well up with tears just a bit and my heart puffed up with pride while reading the (partial) list of the things that make Alabama a jewel in a crown. I say partial because I’m from the Shoals area in northwest Alabama and, although I’m completely biased here, I believe that the musical magic made here at Fame Studios should be a leading point in ANY pro-Alabama inventory. The list of famous artists and number of hits are astounding. From Aretha Franklin and the Beatles to Demi Lovato and Alicia Keys. But still, although we didn’t get in the final draft of your defense, it’s an awesome read and you have a fan in me. Thank you again…it means more than you think… I only wish you knew how this somehow helped me, touched a part of the soul I had long believed dead and helped lift my spirits in very trying times. I can’t thank you enough or ever hope to convey my true gratitude… So I will carry it with me and share that “good” with the next down trodden spirit. I’m sure you didn’t think a fb post could ever have such and effect…I sure didn’t. But I’m glad it did.
Penny - February 3, 2023 5:48 pm
Sean – I have lived in Alabama my entire life (64 years). I love Alabama but I can also see its faults.
You mentioned that Alabama was the “the birthplace of the American Civil Rights Movement”. I have a hard time taking pride in that claim, especially when you see the brutality inflicted upon Civil Rights activists here in Alabama (Selma, Birmingham, Mobile, to name a few places). Sadly, Alabama was the birthplace of Civil Rights BECAUSE it was one of the states that most abused the civil rights of African Americans. The abuses were horrendous and too often, deadly.
A thorough study of the American Civil Rights movement reveals that the fact it started in Alabama should not be a source of pride. That was a totally strategic and well planned move to shine a national spotlight on the atrocities happening in Alabama.