The Famous Women of Alabama

Alabama is not only popular for its scenic attractions and landscapes. It is also home to a lot of famous women who not only excelled in their chosen fields but made significant changes in the world. Let us get to know some of them.

Helen Keller
Helen Keller was a famous American lecturer, author and activist. She was noted as the first deaf-blind person to ever graduate from College. She was born in Ivy Green Tuscumbia, Alabama to Kate Adams Keller. Her father was formerly the Confederate Army’s officer, Captain Arthur Keller.

Though Helen was born in Alabama, the Keller Family originated from Germany.

Helen Keller was born neither deaf nor blind. She could hear and see clearly until she contracted a disease at age 19. The doctors referred to it as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain.” Nowadays, it will be more known as meningitis or scarlet fever.

Helen’s disease supposedly brings retardation and blindness. Although it did not last long, it left Helen blind and deaf. She survived through this phase through sign language.

It was Annie Sullivan, her teacher, who inspired her to communicate and become world renowned. Sullivan taught her to talk using a method called Tadoma.

Tadoma is touching the throat and lips of a person to understand what is being said. It also involves finger spelling the letter onto a child’s palm. Later on, Helen learned the Braille method. She used it for reading English, French, Greek, German and Latin languages.

As an author, Helen Keller was outspoken and well-traveled, particularly opposing the threats of war. She became world renowned through her dramatic depiction of the film and play “The Miracle Worker.” She campaigned and took a stand for the worker’s rights, socialism, women’s suffrage and various other progressive causes.

Courteney Cox
Courtney Cox is a famous American film producer, actress and model. She starred in popular films like Sitcom Friends, Scream Film Series and Dirt among others.

She belonged to a rich Southern family. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama to Courtney and Richard Lewis Cox.

Courtney Cox, or CeCe as her friends would call her, was raised within Mountain Brook Birmingham, Alabama to a rich suburb. This is where she studied and became a tennis player, swimmer and cheerleader.

Upon graduation, she pursued interior design and architecture at Mount Vernon College for Women. However, she dropped-out when Ford Modeling Agency convinced her to go to New York for a modeling career. In the midst of her modeling career, she also had acting lessons, working hard to improve her accent as well.

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks is world renowned as an Afro-American civil rights activist. She was regarded as “The Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement.”

She was born in Tuskegee, Alabama to a Leona Edwards and James McCauley, a teacher and carpenter respectively. Her family had Cherokee-Creek, Scots-Irish and African-American blood.
In her growing up years, discrimination was very rampant. There was the so-called Jim Crow Laws that segregated the blacks and the whites in virtually all aspects of daily living including public rides. Instead of providing separate vehicles for the blacks and the whites, train and bus companies just enforced strict seating arrangements. School buses were not available to the black students. While the whites conveniently rode school buses, blacks were forced to walk to school.

In Montgomery Alabama in December 1955, Rosa Parks disobeyed a bus driver named James Blake who was supposedly ordering her to make room and give up her seat for a white passenger. Although there have been other cases of civil disobedience, it was Rosa Park’s action that sparked and triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Her act of defiance brought about the Modern Civil Rights Movement, having her as their international icon of resistance to racial segregation. Later on, she collaborated and organized with other civil rights leaders, such as the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. She even helped launch his national prominence to the Civil Rights Movement.