An experimental community intended to address the ills of income disparity during the Gilded Age, Fairhope, Alabama was founded by mid-westerners in 1894 on the shores of Mobile Bay. It attracted artists, eccentrics, and reformers including Marietta Johnson, who along with Maria Montessori, was a pioneer of non-traditional education.
The community’s founding organization and the school are both still there. But as the town has evolved into a nationally known resort and retirement community, it has struggled to reconcile its present with its past.
The colony’s ideals were at odds with Southern attitudes about race
Among a community of free thinkers was dancer Winifred Duncan, once arrested for nude canoeing in the bay
Produced for the University of Alabama Center for Public Television