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    Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, in the Black Belt region of south central Alabama and extending to the west. Located on the banks of the Alabama River, the city has a population of 20,756 as of the 2010 census. About 80% of the population is African-American. Selma was a trading center and market town during the antebellum years of King Cotton in the South. It was also an important armaments-manufacturing and iron shipbuilding center for the Confederacy during the Civil War, surrounded by miles of earthen fortifications. The Confederate forces were defeated during the Battle of Selma, in the final full month of the war. In modern times, the city is best known for the 1960s civil rights movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches, beginning with "Bloody Sunday" in 1965 and ending with 25,000 people entering Montgomery at the end of the last march to press for voting rights. This activism generated national attention for social justice and that summer, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by Congress to authorize federal oversight and enforcement of constitutional rights of all American citizens. Due to agriculture and industry decline, Selma has lost about a third of its peak population in the 1960s. The city now is focusing its income on tourism for its major influence in civil rights and desegregation. Selma is also one of Alabama's poorest cities with an average income of $35,500, which is 30% less than the state average. Selma also has a high poverty rate with one in every three residents in Selma being in poverty.
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    National Parks

    Free Admission to National Parks This Weekend

    In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the National Park Service has announced that all 397 national parks around the country will be offering free admission from Saturday, January 14th, to Monday, January 16th, 2012. “Dr. King’s story and those of so many others whose efforts changed our country are preserved in the national parks, places where history happened," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "I hope every American can take advantage of the upcoming fee free weekend and visit their parks to experience their history firsthand.” Those wishing to learn more about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., can pay a visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, Georgia, where both the home he was born in and his tomb with the Eternal Flame are on display. Follow in his footsteps along the National Historic Trail from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, now a designated historic byway. If you happen to be on the east coast, visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. and sit on the steps from which Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech, or visit the newly opened Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in the National Mall. Events commemorating Dr. King's life will also take place at Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Tennessee, while the MLK Film Festival will be held at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington D.C. from January 14-16. Not sure where the closest national park is? Use this tool to find a national park near you and see what activities and events are offered in each park. It should be noted that all National Parks will also be free on the following dates: April 21-29, National Park Week; June 9, Get Outdoors Day; September 29, National Public Lands Day; and November 10-12, Veterans Day Weekend. We want to know: What are your favorite National Parks? Are there certain ones you take your family to every year, or others you plan to visit in the future? Tell us all about it! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: 7 National Parks You've Never Heard Of Quiz: Think You Know the National Parks? National Parks (Minus the Crowds)


    Would You Choose A Vacation Spot Just Because It's Cheap?

    At one time or another, we've probably all felt daunted by the high cost of visiting a certain place we really, really want to go—London, Venice, New York, and Australia come to mind right away. But I'm curious how many BT readers have ever chosen a vacation destination purely on the basis of its exceptional cheapness. The latest Hotel Price Index report came out last week on, and while rates worldwide are up 4% on average, there are still a slew of places where your hotel dollar goes far. Domestically, the ten flat–out cheapest cities for hotel rates in 2011 (which, in many cases, correspond with general cost–of–visit rates) were: Columbia, S.C. (average room rate $65); Macon, Ga. ($72); Albany, Ga. ($75); Dothan, Ala. ($76); Lima, Ohio ($78); Bakersfield, Calif. ($78); Ottumwa–Kirksville, Mo. ($79); Glendive, Mont. ($79); Montgomery/Selma, Ala. ($79); and Parkersburg, W. Va. ($80). And if you're looking for luxury at a low cost, here are the top international destinations for affordable five–star rooms, based on prices paid throughout 2011: Warsaw, Poland (average five–star room rate $130); Marrakech, Morocco ($168); Cairo, Egypt ($189); Budapest, Hungary ($191); Pisa, Italy ($193); Lisbon, Portugal ($195); Brussels, Belgium ($196); Berlin, Germany ($198); and Beijing, China ($203). Does knowing that you can stay in Columbia, S.C. for $65 a night make you more likely to consider a visit to the South Carolina capital, with its historic homes, riverside zoo, and university–city energy (not to mention all that old–fashioned comfort food)? Or are you more tempted by the idea of living like a king in one of Warsaw's finest hotels for the cost of, say, a run–down pension in Paris? How much do accommodations costs affect your vacation decisions? Tell us in the comments! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Top Budget Travel Destinations for 2012 8 Cool New Tools for Finding the Perfect Hotel World's 16 Most Picturesque Villages


    6 Under-the-Radar Hollywood Hot Spots

    We know: Resisting Tinseltown’s glitzy icons is futile. But once you’ve checked the must–sees off your list, what next? Try adding these six stops to the tourist circuit. Cat & Fiddle This British pub is located in a 1929 building that once housed part of the Casablanca set. Opened by British Invasion rocker Kim Gardner and still run by his family, the bar features authentic pub grub and live music on its sprawling patio. 6530 Sunset Blvd., bangers and mash $10.75. Hennessey + Ingalls You don’t need to be the next Frank Gehry to enjoy this specialty architecture and arts bookstore, an offshoot of the Santa Monica flagship. With guides to local Art Deco landmarks, coffee table books on L.A.’s famed mansions, and Moleskine film journals to record your very own reviews, it’s a smart souvenir alternative to the kitsch shops lining Hollywood Blvd. 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Moleskine Passions Film Journal $20. Umami Burger In-N-Out Burger may finally have some competition in the hearts of Angelenos. Umami is named for what the Japanese call the fifth taste—the indescribable savory flavor that doesn’t quite qualify as sweet, sour, bitter, or salty. Umami’s signature burger comes topped with shiitakes and a parmesan crisp; others include white soy aioli, slow–roasted tomatoes, or truffle ricotta. Browse the racks at open–air shopping venue Space 15 Twenty while you wait—and you will. 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd., burgers from $10. Hollywood Farmers’ Market It’s fitting that this weekend produce fair is a block from Vine. In addition to nearly 90 farm stands, the market includes artisanal bakers, clothing stalls, and food vendors like Grill Masters, where the rotisserie chicken is a citywide hit. Ivar and Selma Aves., whole chicken $11. Grub The folks at Grub, including Top Chef contender Betty Fraser, met waiting tables at California Pizza Kitchen. Now they’ve invented their own Golden State comfort food, such as blueberry almond granola pancakes with raspberry butter. Bonus: Instead of bread on the table, you’ll find bowls of Froot Loops. 911 Seward St., pancakes $9. Hollywood Forever Cemetery The cemetery, built in 1899, isn’t as famous as Forest Lawn, but it still has its fair share of legends, such as Cecil B. DeMille and Rudolph Valentino. The grounds are often turned into a lively party spot with open–air BYOB screenings of modern classics, like E.T. and Annie Hall, and pre-show sets by noted DJs. 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., screenings $10. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 20 Places Every American Should See 10 Restaurants That Started a Food Movement A Fresh Take on Los Angeles


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    Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. According to the US estimated census of 2019, it is the third most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham and Huntsville, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery bus boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches. In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Two ships of the United States Navy have been named after the city, including USS Montgomery.Montgomery has also been recognized nationally for its downtown revitalization and new urbanism projects. It was one of the first cities in the nation to implement SmartCode Zoning.



    Tuscaloosa ( TUS-kə-LOO-sə) is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west-central Alabama, United States, on the Black Warrior River where the Gulf Coastal and Piedmont plains meet. Alabama's fifth-largest city, it had an estimated population of 101,129 in 2019. It was known as Tuskaloosa until the early 20th century. It is also known as the Druid City because of the numerous water oaks planted in its downtown streets since the 1840s. Incorporated on December 13, 1819, it was named after Tuskaloosa, the chief of a band of Muskogean-speaking people defeated by the forces of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto in 1540 in the Battle of Mabila, in what is now central Alabama. It served as Alabama's capital city from 1826 to 1846. Tuscaloosa is the regional center of industry, commerce, healthcare and education for the area of west-central Alabama known as West Alabama; and the principal city of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Tuscaloosa, Hale and Pickens counties. It is the home of the University of Alabama, Stillman College and Shelton State Community College. While it attracted international attention when Mercedes-Benz announced on September 30, 1993 that it would build its first North American automotive assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County, the University of Alabama remains the city's dominant economic and cultural engine, making it a college town. City leaders adopted the moniker "The City of Champions" after the Alabama Crimson Tide football team won the BCS National Championship in their 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2020 seasons. In 2008, Tuscaloosa hosted the USA Olympic Triathlon trials for the Beijing Games. Through the 2000s and 2010s, it has been declared the "Most Livable City in America", one of America's "100 Best Communities for Young People", one of the "50 Best College Towns", and one of the "Best Places to Launch a Small Business".