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Alabama historical constitutions make way to Huntsville

Alabama's first constitution was drafted in Huntsville in 1819, creating the framework for the state's government.

Posted: Jun 25, 2019 5:30 PM
Updated: Jun 25, 2019 6:06 PM

Alabama's six constitutions were escorted from Montgomery to Huntsville for the very first time. This will be part of a historical bicentennial exhibit that will soon be open to the public!

Alabama's first constitution was drafted in Huntsville in 1819, creating the framework for the state's government. The documents have been held in Montgomery ever since, until Tuesday, 200 years later.

Connie Grund is a volunteer for Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization that promotes U.S. history and education. When she heard some of Alabama's most important documents were coming to her hometown, she couldn't wait to see them.

"This has been such a perfect time for us to honor our ancestors, preserve our history," Grund said.

Alabama's six constitutions and the 1861 ordinance of secession, which declared Alabama's separation from the union before the Civil War, are being viewed for the first time all together in a place other than Montgomery. 

Steven Murray with the Alabama Department of Archives and History says each tells a different story.

"Each one of them is a reflection of concerns that existed in the state at the time they were created, and some of those major historic forces that were shaping Alabama history at the time," Murray said.

Alabama has multiple constitutions because of the changing times and different political views. Murray says with the very first constitution being written in Huntsville, it was only right to bring it home on the 200th birthday.

"It was really not a difficult decision at all. We knew that it needed to be here during this bicentennial year," Murray said. 

WAAY 31 is told preparing for the move wasn't easy. Murray says a conservation center in Massachusetts helped prepare the documents for the long drive. Local and state leaders joined the motorcade in Mooresville before the final stretch to Huntsville.

Now, they will be set up in a special exhibit at the Huntsville Museum of Art. Grund wants Alabamians to look back and see how far the state has come.

"It's so important for the residents of Alabama to know about their history, especially the school children," Grund said. 

The Huntsville Museum of Art will open the exhibit to the public on Sunday, with free admission. The documents will be in Huntsville until August 11th.

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