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It was not all that long ago that the term boll weevil was part of the American political discourse.

The term was one used in the mid- and late-20th century to describe conservative Southern Democrats.

Most of the boll weevils eventually retired from politics, or in the case of some switched parties and joined the Republicans as political winds and sensibilities in the region changed. It was not long before the term fell out of favor and came to be replaced by those remaining conservative Southern Democrats as Blue Dogs (A different bloc of Democrats also emerged in the 1990s, under the Democratic Leadership Council  (DLC), espousing conservative pro-business views on economic issues and moderate views on social issues).

The term bool weevil came from  a beetle prominent in the region which feeds on cotton buds and flowers.

Back in 1919 the citizens of Enterprise, Alabama erected a Boll Weevil Monument to show their appreciation to the insect for its influence on the area’s agriculture and economy.

Hailing the beetle as a “herald of prosperity,” it is described as the world’s first monument built to honor an agricultural pest.

The Monument consists of a statue of a woman holding a pedestal with a boll weevil perched on top.

It was Bon Fleming, a local businessman, who came up with the idea to build the monument, and helped to finance the cost. As a tribute to how something disastrous can be a catalyst for change, and a reminder of how the people of Enterprise adjusted in the face of adversity, the monument was dedicated on December 11, 1919 at the intersection of College and Main Street, the heart of the town’s business district.

At the base of the monument appears the following inscription:

“In profound appreciation of the Boll Weevil and what it has done as the herald of prosperity this monument was erected by the citizens of Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama.”

The original statue of the woman, excluding the fountain and boll weevil, was built in Italy for approximately $1,800. The boll weevil was not added until thirty years later, when Luther Baker thought the Boll Weevil Monument should have a boll weevil on it. He made the boll weevil and mounted it atop the statue.

These days Enterprise stages as annual Boll Weevil Fall Festival that hilights the history of downtown Enterprise.

Enterprise is home to the BamaJam Music Festival featuring multiple acts performing on different stages in three days. Attendance has reached as high as 100,000 each night. In recent years, headliners included Hank Williams, Jr., ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynrd and Trace Adkins, Charlie Daniels, Alan Jackson, and Kid Rock. 

The Boll Weevil is still prominent locally – though not in the political sense familiar to many years ago.

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