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State kicks off bicentennial celebration

The state is planning a big birthday party for its bicentennial, and you’re invited to be a part of the festivities leading up to it.

In 2019, Alabama will commemorate the 200th anniversary of its statehood. Created from the Mississippi Territory in 1817, the Alabama Territory became the nation’s 22nd state on Dec. 14, 1819.

But the state’s Bicentennial Commission is getting a jump on things with more than 2 ½ years’ worth of activities leading up to the actual anniversary. And on May 5 of this year, the city of Mobile will host a formal ceremony launching the multi-year birthday celebration, complete with a street party in downtown Mobile and a fireworks display.

After that, the Alabama 200 initiative will engage residents and visitors in educational programs, community activities and statewide events that will teach, inspire and entertain.

Among the activities planned: traveling exhibitions, a mobile oral history studio, increasing access to family history records, community workshops, a special “Bicentennial Bookshelf” and Alabama Reads, a common reading program.

Education projects range from Bicentennial Blue Ribbon School designations to new curriculum development to professional development for teachers.

Community-hosted efforts include historical marker programs, festivals and fairs, bicentennial gardens, cemetery surveys, reunions and other activities that shine a light on local history.

And a Capitol Bicentennial Park will be constructed in an area facing the Capitol in downtown Montgomery. The park will feature bas-relief sculptures telling the history of Alabama.

For more information, visit Alabama200.org. At the website, you can learn more about adopting a resolution, forming a committee or connecting with people in your area. Consider involving your school, community, organization or county in the commemoration events.