THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGN WAS A WATERSHED MOMENT IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. THE TELEVISED BIRMINGHAM CAMPAIGN, UNDERSCORED THE NON-VIOLENT PROTESTS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN AGAINST THE SEGREGATION CODES OF BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA AND BROUGHT THESE INJUSTICES INTO THE NATIONAL AND GLOBAL CONSCIENCE. UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF REV. FRED SHUTTLESWORTH AND NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS ICON, REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., THESE MINISTERS LED EVERYDAY“FOOT SOLDIERS” TO CROWD THE STREETS OF BIRMINGHAM WITH BOYCOTTS, PRAY-INS AND SIT-INS. THEIR COLLECTIVE COURAGE CHALLENGED AMERICA TO LIVE UP TO ITS PROMISES AS WRITTEN IN THE U.S. CONSTITUTION.
IN 2013, MAYOR WILLIAM A. BELL AND THE CITIZENS OF BIRMINGHAM COMMEMORATED THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1963 BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGN- THROUGH A SERIES OF YEARLONG EVENTS, INCLUDING A TRAVELING EXHIBITION, A NATIONAL CONFERENCE, EMPOWERMENT WEEK AND THE CITY’S COMMITMENT TO COMPLETE THE BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS HERITAGE TRAIL.
COMPLETION OF THE TRAIL WITH MORE THAN 200 SIGNS COVERING 70 SIGNIFICANT SITES WILL TELL THE STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED, HERE, MORE THAN 50 YEARS AGO. TRAIL/SIGNS ARE INSTALLED ON PUBLIC SIDEWALKS AND WITHIN PUBLIC PARKS, WHERE HISTORIC BIRMINGHAM PROTESTS OCCURRED. THE BIRMINGHAM CIVIL RIGHTS HERITAGE TRAIL PROGRAM WITH HISTORIC PHOTOS IN PLACE, FULLY CAPTURES THE MEANING OF “PUBLIC PROTEST IN THE PUBLIC REALM” AND CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATING THE PUBLIC BY ‘TAKING THIS HISTORY BACK TO THE STREET.’
HOW TO READ THE SIGN
FROM THE MAYOR
"This Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail is part of the legacy we leave for the children of tomorrow. This Trail is an interpretive timeline that tells the story those foot soldiers who were students, laborers and others who filled the civil rights battleground that once was Birmingham. Thus, this Trail is dedicated to all who fought so non-violently against Bull Conner and Birmingham’s unconstitutional segregation Laws. We designed this Trail experience to be ‘highly interactive’-- with voice-overs, photos, quotes and lessons, so that all Americans would remember what happened here. This Trail tells the courageous story of African-American citizens who organized and fought peacefully to insure that all Americans would one day be guaranteed their equal rights under the law."
Mayor William A. Bell, Sr.