Historic Markers Across Alabama

Macon County Legal Milestone

Marker ID:  
Location: at the Macon County Courthouse in Tuskegee, Alabama.
County: Macon
Coordinates: N 32° 25.483    W 085° 41.455
  32.42471666    -85.69091666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMFCFC


Macon County Legal Milestone

(Side 1)
Macon County was created by the Alabama Legislature on December 18, 1832 and formed out of land formerly belonging to the Creek Indians. The County was named for Nathaniel Macon, a Revolutionary War soldier and long-serving political leader from North Carolina. Macon County has a unique distinction in Alabama history. In the 1950's, due to civil rights-era hysteria, the legislature targeted the county to be abolished. In December, 1957, the citizens of Alabama, by a two to one majority, approved Amendment No. 132 to the Alabama Constitution which authorized the legislature to appoint a committee to study and determine the feasibility of abolishing Macon County or reducing its area by making it part of surrounding counties. This Amendment remained a part of the Alabama Constitution until the voters in 1982 repealed it with Amendment No. 406.

(Side 2)
The current Macon County Courthouse was completed in 1906 at a cost of $42,000.00. It was designed by J. W. Golucke and Company of Atlanta and built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style with a brick facade and granite trim. This is the only courthouse in Alabama with gargoyles, which are located at each corner of the clock tower and consist of an artistic combination of an eagle and a dragon carved out of granite. The initial courthouse, built in 1833, was a log cabin type structure with a dirt floor. Thereafter, two other courthouses were located in the center of the town square. The current courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 17, 1978.

Several landmark cases are based on events occurring in Macon County. One of the most noted cases is C. G. Gomillion, et al v. Phil M. Lightfoot, As Mayor of the City of Tuskegee, et al, 364 U.S. 339 (1960), which prohibited the use of gerrymandering to disenfranchise Negro voters. This case was one of the first instances of civil rights litigation in the area of voting rights which subsequently expanded into the related issues of voter dilution, "one man, one vote", the reapportionment and redistricting of state legislatures and congressional districts. Also of significant impact was the lawsuit filed in 1972 to protect and assert the rights of persons involved in the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study conducted by the United States, Pollard, et al v. United States of America, et al.

Placed by the Alabama State Bar and Macon County Bar Association, 2001

End of Macon County Legal Milestone