History of Birmingham, Alabama

birmingham

 

I’ve been on a Civil War kick for quite some time now.  I’ve been visiting museums and watching movies out the wazoo.  I grew up in Texas, but have been living in Alabama for the last five years.  I’m pretty accurate with my Civil War history, and for some reason I was always thought Birmingham was a Civil War hotspot.  I mean, it sounds Southern, right?  However, Birmingham did not exist during the Civil War.  It became a city on June 1st, 1871, mostly for the railroads.  It was the perfect spot for the north and south and Chattanooga and Alabama railroads.

 

vulcan-monument

 

Besides the railroad, Birmingham is known for iron smelting and steel production.  Case in point – one of Birmingham’s most famous landmarks is Vulcan – an almost 60 foot iron statue that symbolizes the steel production in Birmingham.  It was commissioned for the 1904 World’s Fair held in St. Louis.  It is the 2nd tallest metal structure behind the Statue of Liberty.

 

One of Birmingham’s controversial and infamous ties to history was the formation of the Dixiecrat Political Party.  Formed due to the 1948 DNC decision for civil rights, the Dixiecrats met in Birmingham and named Strom Thurmond as their Presidential Nominee.  Their platform was to segregate the races to keep racial integrity intact.  What’s sad is even though Thurmond did not win the election, he did receive over a million popular votes, 39 electoral votes, and carried the following states – Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi.

 

16th-st-baptist-church-bombing

 

Birmingham’s infamous past kept rising during the Civil Rights movement with protestors being water-downed with a fire hose by Bull Connor in 1962, the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing in 1963 which murdered three African-American girls by the KKK.

 

On the lighter side, a huge influx of business has increased in Birmingham in the early 2000’s.  A population increase led to more home needing to be built which brough contractors and roofing contractor birmingham al.  With new homes meant new jobs and Birmingham’s economy received a huge boost.  With its economic increase Birmingham wants to put its darker history behind itself.  Never to forget, but to learn and heal from it.

To end this history of Birmingham let’s close it by talking about the University of Alabama.  Did you know that an extension of the Tuscaloosa University exists in Birmingham?  Since Birmingham grew so rapidly the school thought it ideal to add an extension program for students who could not attend the Tuscaloosa campus.  Because of this the University of Alabama is the largest employer in Birmingham.

There you have it – a brief, but meaningful history of the city I live in.  I hope you learned something today!