Toulminville

Toulminville

Toulminville is a district in Mobile, Alabama. It began a small settlement on the property of Theopilus Toulmin, who served as Sheriff of Mobile County in the 1830s. During the American Civil War, Toulminville was mapped along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad as a significant settlement, northwest of Mobile (see map). In 1945, the remainder of Toulminville was annexed into the city of Mobile. The area of Toulminville has varied over the past decades from being an upper-middle class suburb to having a serious crime problem during most of the 1980s and 1990s, although the trend has been reversed in recent years.

Annexation by Mobile

Toulminville remained a largely rural settlement until after the Civil War, when it slowly took on the character of a suburb to Mobile. It remained largely exurban in character until the 20th century, when growth within the city of Mobile spilled over into Toulminville. Part of Toulminville was annexed into the city of Mobile in the 1920s, and the whole of Toulminville was annexed into the city of Mobile in 1945, in the annexation which tripled the size of Mobile's corporate limits. In World War II, Toulminville had become an upper-middle class suburb, with many affluent neighborhoods built along Stanton and Summerville Streets.Hank Aaron also grew up in Toulminville is a young boy.

White flight

In the 1960s, white flight issues caused by desegregation and an upsurge of crime on Mobile's northside (highlighted by an incident in 1966 in which a white nun was raped by a black man at Catholic Cemetery on Davis Avenue, now Martin Luther King Avenue) caused the district which was majority white in 1960 to become nearly 80% black by 1975, and Toulminville was the bedrock of the district which elected John LeFlore, a Mobile NAACP leader who became the first black elected to the legislature in Mobile County.

The final holdout against white flight were neighborhoods along Stanton and Summerville Street which finally became nearly all black in the 1980s, though they remained affluent areas.

While Stanton and Summerville are middle-class areas, most of Toulminville is lower-class and during most of the 1980s and 1990s had a serious crime problem, though that trend has reversed due to a concerted effort by the Mobile Police Department and community leaders in Toulminville.

Toulminville was the birth place of General William Crawford Gorgas who takes on the status of Toulminville Community Hero, as several streets and an elementary school were named after him, (Figures Park, named for Senator Micheal Figures, an influential black politician, was originally named Gorgas Park, in honor of General Gorgas). It also is the neighborhood in which baseball legend Hank Aaron lived during his adolescent years.

LeFlore Preparatory Academy (originally Toulminville High School) is a performing arts magnet school named in honor of John LeFlore. As Toulminville High School, it was an all-white school during segregation times and in 1979 was renamed LeFlore High School in honor of LeFlore. In the 1980s, it was converted into a magnet school, which under Mobile County Public School policy, is ideally to have a 50/50 black white mix. This has not been the case as most whites have the negative image of Toulminville, due to the surrounding areas, which has developed the school to have a 75/25 black white mix.

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