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Monroeville received the designation of “Literary Capital of Alabama” in 1997 by joint proclamation of both the Alabama House and Senate because of its history to produce many famous writers, such as, Nelle Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Mike Stewart, Cynthia Tucker and Mark Childress (to name a few).
Monroe County was founded in 1815 on lands ceded by local Native American tribes. Monroeville, once known as Centerville, was renamed for James Monroe and incorporated on April 15, 1899. However, there is record of the first municipal election being held January 23, 1858 to incorporate the town of Monroeville with a 14 to 0 vote in favor of incorporation. A crossroads community just outside the plantation region of the Black Belt, the Community was largely agricultural. In the mid-1930’s a Vanity Fair textile mill opened and along with wood products contributed to a dynamic local economy.
Monroeville remains a regional center and crossroads on the El Camino Corridor. While the textile industry has moved overseas, agriculture remains and timber continues as an important part of the local economy. The health care industry is now becoming a major contributor to the local economy.
Monroeville is home to Alabama Southern Community College where the Writer’s Symposium is held each year. Annual productions of “To Kill A Mockingbird” are held in April and May at the Monroe County Heritage Museum and Courthouse with local citizens performing as cast members. There never seems to be an end to the talent we find here.
In May 2005, Monroeville received the designation as an “Alabama Community of Excellence” which recognizes the City as one of the top places to live in Alabama. In order to receive this designation, the city was required to meet certain criteria in leadership, planning, economic development and quality of life.