If you’ve ever told someone above the Mason-Dixon Line that you’re from Alabama, phrases like “I’m so sorry”, “yikes”, “why?” and “I could/would never” are all too familiar. When I tell people that I made the decision to move from New Jersey to Alabama, they, without fail, express shock and confusion. The most hilarious reaction, though, is when I shamelessly admit that I prefer the south to the north. As funny as it is to watch northerners come to terms with the idea that the north is not superior to the south, it’s actually quite sad to know that the south is so widely hated. To other Americans, all that the south represents is conservatism, racism, and stupidity. To non-Americans, the south is literally just a joke. Not only is this a call to action for Alabamians everywhere to work hard to clean the reputation of the state, both in deliberate action and in just being kind human beings, but this is an opportunity for a northern southerner to tell you great things about Alabama and to encourage you to find beauty in your state in the way that I did and continue to do.
I am a proud Alabama girl. Thus far, I have visited Birmingham, Montgomery, Troy, Florence, and Tuscaloosa. A couple of my favorite spots are The Original Pancake House in Birmingham, Big Oh’s in Huntsville (a family owned Korean restaurant that is absolutely delicious - I recommend the Korean BBQ + egg drop soup), and under the huge tree in my grandpa’s backyard when it smells like the chicken grilling on his homemade, handmade grill (that he built himself, thank you very much). The state, visually, is beautiful, with it being one of the most biodiverse places in the world. The culture, abundant with moments like the aforementioned tree-side sitting, is equally as beautiful as the state. People are just kind for no reason in Alabama.
While I will never excuse the disgusting history and tradition of hatred that my state upholds or pretend that it is not still a strong force in Alabama, I genuinely love living here and am not ashamed to say it. I live in the Huntsville area, one of the most diverse and inclusive areas in the state of Alabama, and that has made it very easy to see both the good and the bad about Alabama. I’m excited to continue to travel the state, to learn more about it, and to live here and work to change both the assumed and genuine reputation of the state. My writing for Yellowhammer Youth will focus mainly on my experiences in the state, and I’ll compare them to my experiences across the country, advocate for the political work I do.
Written by: Love Lundy / @theblackaltoid
Photography by: Love Lundy / @theblackaltoid
Edited by: Elizabeth Webber / @lizflute13 / @elizabethw169
Isabel Hope / @isabama / @isabamahope