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Alabama's State Nicknames (unofficial)

"Yellowhammer" woodpecker- Click to see all state nicknames
Northern Flicker (Yellowhammer) showing glimpse of bright yellow feathers
under tail and wings - photo © Nature's Pic's (www.naturespicsonline.com)
Published under terms of Creative Commons 3.0 (attribution / share alike)

"The Yellowhammer State"

Alabama does not have an official nickname, but has been known as The Yellowhammer State since the civil war when a company of Alabama soldiers wore uniforms trimmed with yellow cloth and were nicknamed Yellowhammers. "Yellowhammer" is the common name given to the Northern flicker woodpecker (also the state bird of Alabama) because of the bright yellow feathers beneath its wings and tail (WATCH yellowhammer bird video).

The Cotton State

Alabama is also called The Cotton State (Alabama is centrally located in the cotton belt and cotton production was a major influence in the growth and culture of the state).

The Heart of Dixie

Probably the most familiar nickname for Alabama is The Heart of Dixie (originally because Montgomery was the first capital of the Confederate States during the Civil War). See Nicknames for all 50 states.

Alabama license plate - Click to see all state nicknames
Alabama license plate with "Heart of Dixie" emblem -
photo by Norm Russo (used by permission)

The phrase Stars Fell on Alabama was introduced to Alabama license plates in 2002, with the familiar Heart of Dixie emblem reduced to a small size (a 1951 law requires Alabama license plates to display the words "Heart of Dixie" within a heart shape).

"Stars Fell on Alabama," refers to the 1934 song written by Mitchell Parish and Frank Perkins and made famous by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and other artists. It also refers to an actual meteor shower that was seen across Alabama on November 12-13, 1833. Quote from then-Governor Don Siegelman: "It is my hope that this design will help send a message that stars have indeed fallen on Alabama and continue to fall on Alabama." Stars Fell on Alabama is also the title of a book by Carl Carmer.

Source:
Kid's Symbols & Emblem Index: Alabama Archives & History
Links:
State Nicknames - 50 States

Alabama Gifts - Gifts by State

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Alabama Symbols & Icons:

bird - game bird 
mammal - horse show
marine mammal - horse
fish-marine fish
reptile-amphibian
butterfly-insect
flower-shell
wildflower-soil
fruit -nut - spirit
tree-tree fruit
gemstone-rock
fossil-mineral
  

flag - seal
coat of arms
name - motto
nicknames
dance - quarter
song-poets
theatre - bible
drama-musical
museum
quilt - creed
fair- tournament
championship

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"The Stars Fell on Alabama" by Carl Carmer
Stars Fell on Alabama -
a book by Carl Carmer