Alabama Official Emblems, Symbols, and Honors
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Alabama does not have an official nickname. It is commonly referred to as "the Heart of Dixie" and that phrase has appeared on state automobile license plates since the 1950s, but it is not an official nickname. Alabama has also been known as the cotton state and the yellowhammer state.
In 2002 the phrase "Stars Fell on Alabama" began to appear on license plates. It refers to the night of November 12, 1833, when a fantastic meteor shower seen across the Southeast caused this night to be known as “the night stars fell on Alabama.” The shower created such great excitement across the state that it became a part of Alabama folklore and for years was used to date events. A century later it inspired a song and book.
Code of Alabama, 1975, (1998 Cumulative Supplement)
Information Section of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, State of Alabama Official Symbols, April 10, 1990.
Alabama Department of Archives and History, Alabama State Emblems, n.d.
Updated: July 16, 2012