Digital Media Center
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Gate 61
920 Paul Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0370
(800) 654-4262

© 2024 Alabama Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The possible cost of progress for one Marengo County family

Lynn Oldshue

Progress may be coming at a cost for one family in Marengo County. State planners have been working on what’s called the West Alabama Corridor for almost thirty years. It’s a four-lane highway to cut time on the drive between Tuscaloosa and Mobile. The upside is that the highway may bring connectivity and development to the rural counties of the Black Belt. Then, there’s the apparent downside. Parts of the highway may be built on private property taken by the State.

“If you take away everything, we have, we are, we are homeless in America. That's what I feel about it,” said Carolyn Moore Fuqua. She’s one of the eleven people in her family who would lose their homes to the West Alabama Corrdor. “We are a family that the state has made us homeless. You've taken everything that we ever work for away from us, just for a role just to put some cement and gravel down.”

Lynn Oldshue

Four of the Moores’ homes sit on twenty acres that could be seized and bulldozed by the Alabama Department of Transportation to widen U.S.Highway 43. The one hundred and twenty acre homestead has been in the Moore/Grayson family for more than one hundred years. Seventy-five people living in 10 houses still call this land home. That includes André Fuqua, Carolyn’s son.

“It's a two-lane road here and if they want to bring a road, they could do that,” he said.

Andre is a senior at the University of Texas getting his masters in engineering. He says the path to his degree began with the lessons he learned growing up in Dixons Mills.

“Even in our campaign, we're not saying stop the project. We're saying, save our houses,” he added.

Andre is working for a compromise that would allow his family to keep their homes while the State builds the highway. He designed the yard signs posted along their stretch of highway that read: “Seize No Moore Homes.” That’s Moore spelled M-O-O-R-E.

Lynn Oldshue

The West Alabama Corridor has been a priority for Governor Kay Ivey and in her speech at the ground breaking said the highway has been the dream of every Alabama governor going back to Jim Folsom in the 1950s.

This isn’t the first time Alabama has taken some of the Moore’s land for a highway. In 1923, Alabama used eminent domain to seize a portion of the Moores’ land to build the first U.S. 43. The State didn’t pay a penny for it. APR asked The Alabama Department of Transportation for comment. In a written response, says appraisals in the Dixons Mills area have not been completed, and no purchase offers have been made. ALDOT has identified changes to reduce impacts to the Moores. Despite the reassurances from the State, members of the family are still cautious…

Lynn Oldshue

“He’s worn and torn from working. it’s on his body worn and torn from working,” said Carolyn Moore’s twin sister, Marolyn. “It’s on my body, her body, their bodies. What they’re doing since they’ve been here, it’s on our bodies.”

Marolyn says their grandfather was a carpenter who built several of the homes in Dixons Mills.

“It is on our bodies and money can’t pay for the aches and the pains. And what's in our heart and our spirit to save our land. This is our heritage. This is our life. Do you understand what I'm saying?” Marolyn asked.

The Moores fear Alabama will once again use eminent domain to take their land for public use. They created a website,, asking the public to sign a petition of support and to send letters to Governor Ivey asking her to save their homes and their history. They also have a GoFundMe site to pay for lawyer’s fees

Lynn Oldshue is a reporter for Alabama Public Radio.
Related Content
  • The State of Alabama does certain things to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. There’s treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues as well as coaching and mentoring. This is a story about stories. The point is who the writers are and what the experience might mean for them.
  • Alabama is still dealing with the Delta variant of COVID-19. The more contagious coronavirus strain first swept through the Gulf Coast in July and August. It then spread to the rest of Alabama.
  • Clinics that provided abortions in Alabama are dealing with a new reality. So are their patients. Late last month, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe versus Wade. Within hours of that decision, a Montgomery federal judge ended an injunction against Alabama’s Human Life Protection Act. The measure makes almost all abortions in the state a felony. An estimated one in four women will have an abortion in their lifetimes. That is now much harder for women in Alabama.
News from Alabama Public Radio is a public service in association with the University of Alabama. We depend on your help to keep our programming on the air and online. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.