According to the description of the stop motion animated series, Jackson (voiced by Faison), an archaeologist and time traveler, and Harriet Tubman (voiced by Wanda Sykes) try to protect Black history from the machinations of Woodrow Wilson (voiced by Seth Green) and the KKKabal.
In an interview, Faison said that the classic 80s adventure film Indiana Jones was one of the inspirations behind the creation of the series.
“I was like, you know, this dude’s going across the world—he’s in Africa, sometimes he’s in China—and there’s so much history, there’s so much Black history out there that nobody’s investigating,” he explained. “Wouldn’t it be really dope if there was somebody like the Black Indiana Jones, who was going across the continent and trying to find all of this Black history?”
“When you try to do a show about an African American archeologist looking for artifacts, you run into problems, because a lot of our history is being erased…as time goes on,” he added. “One of the people that did a lot of erasing of Black history is Woodrow Wilson. And so I thought, how cool would it be if it’s a time travel show, and Woodrow Wilson is going through time now trying to erase Black history instead of trying to destroy books and curriculum in schools.”
At a San Diego Comic-Con Panel, Faison conceived the idea of the series. The head of Emmy-winning Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, which also produced Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, was interested in running it.
Expanding on his passion for stop motion animation, Faison worked as an intern at Stoopid Buddy to learn more about the art form and went on to voice several Robot Chicken characters.
With a background in genealogy and African American history, Faison’s mother Shirley serves as one of the writers of the series. Her experience offered a historical framework for the many adventures that Alabama Jackson takes throughout history.
“History is really important. To know your history is to know yourself and to know history, in general, is to know yourself,” he said. “ And we’re going through a lot right now with…what history people want to teach the children or what history they don’t want to teach the children. And, you know, if they’re not going to teach it in school, some kids can come and laugh with us and learn a few tidbits here and there. We’re not sitting here saying that everything that we’re doing is exact history, but we’re dropping some jewels on you in these episodes, we’re giving you knowledge, we’re giving you something to say, “Oh, sh*t, I didn’t know this happened.”
Alabama Jackson is currently available on Adult Swim’s YouTube Channel and runs through February 21.