Located just 40 miles east of Montgomery; Tuskegee is a relatively small city located in Macon County, Alabama. With the population of about 12,000 Tuskegee is small but nice community. Tuskegee is known for many things including its prominent roles in African American and Civil Rights history. Tuskegee is also the birthplace of Rosa Parks, the face of the Civil Rights’ movement.
Tuskegee was formed in 1833 by General Thomas Simpson Woodward. Woodward, who fought in the Indian Wars under the command of Andrew Jackson, named the area after an Indian tribe called the Taskigis. Woodward built the first home on the land and settled there respectfully. Before being moved from the land, Tuskegee was home to many Indian tribes including the Channuanugee, Chehaws and Taskigis’.
After being incorporated in 1843, it soon became a intellectual hub of the south east. The first law school in Alabama was also founded there. Before public schooling systems were established in 1898, Tuskegee had over 4 institutions for youth and college attendants. In 1881 Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers, which became the Tuskegee Institute and later Tuskegee University. With the primary goal of educating and empowering newly freed African Americans, Tuskegee University quickly became a prestigious school for minorities.
The small city is also known as the scene of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, the horrific clinical study conducted by the U.S Public Health Service.
Residents and Demographics
The city has a population of nearly 12,000 and is 15.5 square miles. 95% of its residents are African American with only 2.59% being white. The median age is 26, with 25% of the population being 18-24 years of age. The median income is only $18,889 per individual and for families $26,862. This income bracket is very low in comparison to other areas of the country and is one of the lowest income areas in the state. About 36% of the population is living below the poverty line.
Being home to one of the first historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Tuskegee offers beautiful campuses, parks, museums and libraries. One of the biggest attractions is the Tuskegee Human and Civil Rights Multicultural Center, which is a nationally acclaimed museum telling the importance of Tuskegee in the Civil Rights’ movement.
Tuskegee University houses a lot of the area attractions including the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, which maintains the original buildings constructed and used by the first students of the university. Is also includes the George Washington Carver Museum, Booker T Washington’s home, and a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen – the first African American airmen in the United States.
Tuskegee, like many places in Alabama has an undeniable wealth of culture, education and history. Although the city seems to be lacking employment, and monetary wealth, it is easy to come to the area rich in spirit. Not only is this city a must for history buffs and educators, but also for young Americans and old alike. There are very few places that hold more historic references for African American and others than Tuskegee – it is a must if you are in the south.