Perry County has some of the richest soil in Alabama and was a center of cotton production well into the twentieth century. It was also a center for education in the Black Belt, serving as home to the Marion Female Seminary, Howard College, and the Lincoln Normal School, founded in 1867 by freed slaves. Judson College, founded in 1838, and Marion Military Institute are located in Marion, the county seat. Civil Rights leader Coretta Scott King grew up in the county. Many buildings in Marion and Perry County are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Moore-Webb-Holmes Plantation, with more than 20 farm buildings from the 1800s.