Year of Alabama History



February 18, 1861













February 15, 1854








February 15, 1965








February 16, 1895








February 16, 1968













February 17, 1864








February 19, 1807



Jefferson Davis Inauguration

This Week in Alabama History

February 15 - 21




Featured Event:

After being welcomed to Montgomery with great fanfare, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America on the portico of the Alabama capitol. Davis, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi, lived in Montgomery until May, when the Confederate government was moved from Montgomery to its new capital of Richmond, Virginia.



Other Events this Week

Alabama establishes a statewide public school system. The legislation, which provided funding for the system and created the position of state superintendent, cited the state's 1819 constitution as the basis for a system of free schools in Alabama: "Schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged in this State."


Nat King Cole, "the man with the velvet voice," dies in Santa Monica, California. Born the son of a Baptist minister in Montgomery in 1919, Cole sold over 50 million records and became the first African-American male with a weekly network television series.



Alabama formally adopts a state flag for the first time. The legislature dictated "a crimson cross of St. Andrew upon a field of white," which was the design submitted by John W. A. Sanford, Jr., who also sponsored the bill. This flag remains Alabama's flag today.



The first-ever 911 call is placed in Haleyville. State Representative Rankin Fite made the call fom the mayor's office and it was answered at the police station by Congressman Tom Bevill. The system was put into operation within weeks of AT&T's announcement that it planned to establish 911 as a nationwide emergency number. Alabama Telephone Company, in a successful attempt to implement the number before AT&T, determined that Haleyville's equipment could be quickly converted to accommodate an emergency system.


The H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine built in Mobile, becomes the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship. After torpedoing the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor the Hunley sank. It did not return to port until it was recovered in August 2000.



Former U.S. vice-president Aaron Burr is arrested in the Mississippi Territory at McIntosh Bluff, Washington County, in present-day Alabama. Burr was accused of treason for attempting to form a new republic in the southwest. After spending several weeks in custody in Alabama, Burr was returned to Richmond, Virginia, for trial. Burr was acquitted of the charges, but quickly left the country to avoid other charges relating to the murder of Alexander Hamilton during an 1804 duel.


Listen: Click the play button below to hear Archives Staff discuss this event on Alabama Public Radio.