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Dallas County
Dallas County Courthouse in Selma.  Built in 1901, it was given an extensive modern makeover in 1960
Dallas County Courthouse in Selma. Built in 1901, it was given an extensive modern makeover in 1960
Map of Alabama highlighting Dallas County
Location within the U.S. state of Alabama
Map of the United States highlighting Alabama
Alabama's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Alabama
Founded February 9, 1818
Named for Alexander J. Dallas
Seat Selma
Largest city Selma
 • Total 994 sq mi (2,570 km2)
 • Land 979 sq mi (2,540 km2)
 • Water 15 sq mi (40 km2)  1.5%
 • Total 38,462
 • Estimate 
37,619 Decrease
 • Density 38.694/sq mi (14.940/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 7th
  • County Number 27 on Alabama Licence Plates

Dallas County is a county located in the central part of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2020 census, its population was 38,462. The county seat is Selma. Its name is in honor of United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander J. Dallas, who served from 1814 to 1816.

Dallas County comprises the Selma, AL Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Dallas County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature on February 9, 1818, from Montgomery County. This was a portion of the Creek cession of lands to the US government of August 9, 1814. The Creek were known as one of the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast. The county was named for U.S. Treasury Secretary Alexander J. Dallas of Pennsylvania.

Dallas County is located in what has become known as the Black Belt region of the west-central portion of the state. The name referred to its fertile soil, and the area was largely developed for cotton plantations, worked first by enslaved African Americans. After emancipation, many of the African Americans who stayed in the area worked as sharecroppers and tenant farmers. The county was majority black.

The county is traversed by the Alabama River, flowing from northeast to southwest across the county. It is bordered by Perry, Chilton, Autauga, Lowndes, Wilcox, and Marengo counties. Originally, the Dallas county seat was at Cahaba, which also served as the state capital for a brief period. In 1865, the county seat was transferred to Selma. Other towns and communities in the still mostly rural county include Marion Junction, Sardis, Orrville, Valley Grande, and Minter.

Cotton production suffered in the early 20th century due to infestation of boll weevil, which invaded cotton areas throughout the South. At the turn of the 20th century, the state legislature disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites through provisions of a new state constitution requiring payment of poll tax and passing a literacy test for voter registration. These largely survived legal challenges.

The period from 1877 to 1950 (and especially through 1930), was the height of lynchings across the South, as whites worked to impose white supremacy and Jim Crow. In the early 20th century, many blacks left the South in the Great Migration to escape these oppressive conditions.

In the postwar era of the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans, including many veterans, mounted new efforts across the South to be able to exercise their constitutional right as citizens to register and vote.

The still mostly rural county reached a peak of population in 1960. Younger people have since left to seek work elsewhere. The county is working on new directions for economic development.

From 1963 through 1965, Selma and Dallas County were the sites of a renewed Voting Rights Campaign. It was organized by locals of the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL), and joined by activists from Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In late 1964 they invited help by SCLC leaders. With Martin Luther King, Jr. participating, this campaign attracted national and international news in February and March 1965. Two activists were killed before the final march took place.

On March 7, several hundred peaceful marchers were beaten by state troopers and county posse after they passed over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and into the county, intending to march to the state capital of Montgomery. The events were covered by national media. The protesters renewed their walk on March 21, having been joined by thousands of sympathizers from across the country and gained federal protection, to complete the Selma to Montgomery marches. More people joined them, so that some 25,000 people entered Montgomery on the last day of the march. In August of that year, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Millions of African-American citizens across the South registered and voted in the subsequent years, participating again in the political system.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 994 square miles (2,570 km2), of which 979 square miles (2,540 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (1.5%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Major highways

  • US 80.svg U.S. Highway 80
  • Alabama 5.svg State Route 5
  • Alabama 14.svg State Route 14
  • Alabama 22.svg State Route 22
  • Alabama 41.svg State Route 41
  • Alabama 66.svg State Route 66
  • Alabama 89.svg State Route 89
  • Alabama 140.svg State Route 140
  • Alabama 219.svg State Route 219


  • Craig Field (SEM) in Selma
  • Skyharbor Airport (S63) in Selma


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 6,003
1830 14,017 133.5%
1840 25,199 79.8%
1850 29,727 18.0%
1860 33,625 13.1%
1870 40,705 21.1%
1880 48,433 19.0%
1890 49,350 1.9%
1900 54,657 10.8%
1910 53,401 −2.3%
1920 54,697 2.4%
1930 55,094 0.7%
1940 55,245 0.3%
1950 56,270 1.9%
1960 56,667 0.7%
1970 55,296 −2.4%
1980 53,981 −2.4%
1990 48,130 −10.8%
2000 46,365 −3.7%
2010 43,820 −5.5%
2020 38,462 −12.2%
2021 (est.) 37,619 −14.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020


Dallas County Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 10,363 26.94%
Black or African American 26,812 69.71%
Native American 56 0.15%
Asian 145 0.38%
Pacific Islander 12 0.03%
Other/Mixed 778 2.02%
Hispanic or Latino 296 0.77%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 38,462 people, 15,910 households, and 10,328 families residing in the county.


Residents identified by the following ethnicities, according to the 2010 United States Census:


As of the census of 2000, there were 46,365 people, 17,841 households, and 12,488 families residing in the county. The population density was 47 people per square mile (18/km2). There were 20,450 housing units at an average density of 21 per square mile (8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 63.26% Black or African American, 35.58% White, 0.11% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.14% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 0.63% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 17,841 households, out of which 33.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.40% were married couples living together, 25.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. Nearly 27.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 28.60% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 26.20% from 25 to 44, 21.90% from 45 to 64, and 13.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $23,370, and the median income for a family was $29,906. Males had a median income of $31,568 versus $18,683 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,638. About 27.20% of families and 31.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.70% of those under age 18 and 27.60% of those age 65 or over.




Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town


Areas not in Selma are served by Dallas County Schools, while areas in Selma are served by Selma City Schools.

Notable inhabitants

  • Redoshi, a woman originally from Benin, West-Africa, kidnapped and sold to a Dallas County slave owner.

See also

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