by G. Ward Hubbs
University of Alabama Press, 2019
eISBN: 978-0-8173-9233-8 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5944-7
Library of Congress Classification F334.T9H84 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 976.184

Winner of Alabama Historical Association's 2020 Clinton Jackson Coley Book Award!

A lavishly illustrated history of this distinctive city’s origins as a settlement on the banks of the Black Warrior River to its development into a thriving nexus of higher education, sports, and culture

In both its subject and its approach, Tuscaloosa: 200 Years in the Making is an account unlike any other of a city unlike any other—storied, inimitable, and thriving. G. Ward Hubbs has written a lively and enlightening bicentennial history of Tuscaloosa that is by turns enthralling, dramatic, disturbing, and uplifting. Far from a traditional chronicle listing one event after another, the narrative focuses instead on six key turning points that dramatically altered the fabric of the city over the past two centuries.
The selection of this frontier village as the state capital gave rise to a building boom, some extraordinary architecture, and the founding of The University of Alabama. The state’s secession in 1861 brought on a devastating war and the burning of the university by Union cavalry; decades of social adjustments followed, ultimately leading to legalized racial segregation. Meanwhile, town boosters set out to lure various industries, but with varying success.
The decision to adopt new inventions, ranging from electricity to telephones to automobiles, revolutionized the daily lives of Tuscaloosans in only a few short decades. Beginning with radio, and followed by the Second World War and television, the formerly isolated townspeople discovered an entirely different world that would culminate in Mercedes-Benz building its first overseas production plant nearby. At the same time, the world would watch as Tuscaloosa became the center of some pivotal moments in the civil rights movement—and great moments in college football as well.
An impressive amount of research is collected in this accessibly written history of the city and its evolution. Tuscaloosa is a versatile history that will be of interest to a general readership, for scholars to use as a starting point for further research, and for city and county school students to better understand their home locale.