Hale County, Alabama

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Hale County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. It is named in honor of Confederate Colonel Stephen F. Hale. As of 2000 the population was 17,185. Its county seat is Greensboro and it is part of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Hale County was established on January 30, 1867. Hale County is connected to three major twentieth century artists: Walker Evans photographed the area in 1936 while he collaborated with James Agee on the 1941 book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Since the 1960s, artist William Christenberry, born in Tuscaloosa, has been photographing various structures in Hale County as part of his multi-media artistic investigations. More recently, Hale County has become the home of the nationally-recognized Auburn University Rural Studio, an architectural outreach program founded by architect and artist Samuel Mockbee and D. K. Ruth.

Hale County is the birthplace of Eugene Sawyer, the second African American mayor of Chicago. Since the American Civil War, whites controlled economic and political power in Hale County. However, in 1997 after a highly contested mayoral election the City of Greensboro elected its first African American Mayor,John E. Owens Jr. At this time Greensboro appointed its first African American Police Chief, Claude E. Hamilton. Though racial tensions in the small Alabama town remain high (in part because the African American political action organization, Campaine 2000 and the political action organization Democracy Defense League,which is composed of African American and white citizens, frequently clash over political candidates). In 2006, African American and white citizens joined together and elected Hale County's first African American Sheriff, Kenneth W. Ellis. Prior to being elected Sheriff, Ellis served as the Police Chief of the Town of Moundville, in north Hale County. In recent years Hale County has suffered from the effects of voter fraud. In the late 1990s former Greensboro police officer, Aaron Evans, who is African American, was convicted of voter fraud in a Greensboro Municipal Election. In 2008, former Hale County Circuit Clerk Gay Nell Tinker Singleton and former Greensboro City Councilperson Valaida Paige, both whom are African American, were indicted by a Hale County grand jury for voter fraud in county and municipal elections. Though significant strides have been made in recent years in race relations, many still consider Hale County a divided land.

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