Dallas County Bicentennial celebration plans in the works

Published 10:43 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018

On Feb. 9, 2018, Dallas County became 200 years old, and for its bicentennial, a community event is set to take place on Oct. 6 at Old Cahaba.

Dallas County has a rich history of recorded trials, tribulations and achievements. The bicentennial gives people the opportunity to reflect on and recognize the contributions to this community and the world.

Sheryl Smedley, the Executive Director of the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, said she is proud of Dallas County for withstanding so much throughout its many years.

“This community survived the Civil War and it overcame the Civil Rights Movement and continued to move forward,” Smedley said. “We made our mark here in Selma, in the nation, with the President signing the bill to promote rights. When they closed Craig Airforce Base, it was big economic blow and yet we continued to thrive.”

Dallas County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature, and was named in honor of the United States Secretary of Treasury Alexander J. Dallas who served his position during 1814-1816.

Prior to becoming a county, Dallas County was part of the Creek Nation. However, in 1814, the Treaty of Fort Jackson was signed and a cession was put into place.

Cahaba was the first state capital of Alabama and the seat of the county. As time progressed, in 1865, Selma was chosen to be the county seat as the population had migrated to the area. In 1826 the capital was moved to Tuscaloosa, and later to Montgomery in 1846. 

On April 2, 1865, the Battle of Selma commenced which resulted in a loss for the Confederacy, with the Union claiming victory.

The Civil Rights and Voting Rights Movement was another major event that occurred in Dallas County. African Americans were determined to gain equal rights and through a series of protests, they achieved what they strived for.

Smedley considers the bicentennial to be another milestone for Dallas County.

“I just think that it adds to our rich history,” she said. “We date back to being 200 years old, and we are one of the oldest communities in the state of Alabama. Our history encompasses so much, from the beginning to the civil war, and then to the civil rights movement. There’s so much to be discovered and shared here.”

According to Smedley, there are plans to create a time capsule to preserve Dallas County’s history so that others may know of its legacy in the future.