The South is helping set the national agenda on several fronts. Numerous international automobile manufacturers–Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Hyundai in Alabama; Nissan in Mississippi; and BMW in South Carolina, just to name a few–have chosen the South for their latest production facilities. The beaches and golf resorts in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama are among the most popular in the country. Four of the last six Presidents of the United States – George W. Bush (Texas), Bill Clinton (Arkansas), George Bush (Texas) and Jimmy Carter (Georgia) – have hailed from the South. The cities of the South have been among the fastest growing in the country over the last half-century.
Tuscaloosa is at the center of it all. It is approximately 50 miles southwest of the banking centers and international airport in Birmingham; 95 miles to the west of Alabama’s capital, Montgomery; and 160 miles south of the Space Center in Huntsville. Industry in the Tuscaloosa area includes Randall Publishing, The Westervelt Company, Mercedes-Benz, and Brose – Tuscaloosa. Within a 200-300 mile radius are Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, and Jackson. Mobile, New Orleans, and the Gulf Coast are only a few hours south. The markets of Charlotte, North Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina; and Lexington, Kentucky are within a 400 mile radius.
Tuscaloosa also is less than five hours away by car from many of the region’s major cultural centers. Sports fans will find major league teams in Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, and New Orleans, all of which are just a short drive down the interstate. If you’re a music lover, you can make a quick weekend trip to visit the birthplaces of the blues (the Mississippi Delta), jazz (New Orleans), or country (Nashville). If you feel like staying in town, there are many entertainment opportunities. The University’s Celebrity Concert Series brings internationally noted musicians to Tuscaloosa each year while the Horizons Performing Arts Series offers theatre and dance events. Other attractions include the Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra, the Sakura Festival, Theatre Tuscaloosa, the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art, Moundville Archaeological Park, the Alabama Museum of Natural History, the Westervelt-Warner Museum of American Art, and the Paul W. Bryant Sports Museum. The University also houses the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art which includes over 1800 pieces of African-American art, one of the largest collections in the world.
Many of the country’s biggest businesses are headquartered in the South. Texas boasts Fortune 500 regulars Exxon Mobil, Hewlett-Packard/Compaq, J.C. Penney, Reliant Energy, and Dell; while Atlanta is home to Coca-Cola, UPS, Home Depot, Southern Company, and Delta Airlines. Other major corporations that call the South home are Wal-Mart (Bentonville, Ark.), Bank of America (Charlotte, N.C.), FedEx (Memphis), Dillard’s (Little Rock), AutoZone (Memphis), and Vulcan Materials (Birmingham).