“nestled in a valley at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains”
Nestled in a valley at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Birmingham, Alabama owes its origin to abundant deposits of iron ore, coal and limestone, the essential ingredients for iron and steel making. Ambitious industrialists and land speculators began developing natural resources immediately after the Civil War, or as many southerners called it the War Between the States. A labor force of native white and Black Alabamians, white immigrants from Europe, and prison convicts mined the minerals for capital-intensive corporations. Birmingham was described by social workers of the era as the city hardest hit by the Great Depression, which dealt its heaviest blow to the Black population. The social disorder of the 1930's resulted in increased unionization, and with the shift to wartime production the city began its bounce back as civic leaders diversified the economic base. Yet, despite the returning prosperity, Blacks who then stood at forty percent of the total population, received unequal opportunity, and substandard municipal services. Having fought for freedom abroad, returning Black veterans grew incensed at the dismal living standards in the Black community.
Well worth a visit! It is a fantastic museum located directly beside the 16th street baptist church (the location of the famous bombing that killed the 4 girls). Very fun and informative for all ages!
Such a well thought out museum capturing the history of the (continuing) struggle for civil rights. Whoever designed the institute understands the pain of racism and helps to bring that experience to life. You are taken thru a journey of history, relatively recent struggles, and even continuing struggles throughout the world.
I appreciate this experience as invaluable for my family. As a minister, I was reminded that by being a silent bystander to injustice, I condone it. But if I stand against violence and hatred, I must not return it. Powerful!
Great little museum. The displays were well organized and depict a sequential history of civil rights events in Birmingham. Great experience for kids, I would say 10 or older.
Definitely take the time to visit this amazing destination! An immersive experience that takes you along the rocky path to the ever-elusive equality for all. Very well done and solemn.
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Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
- Sun: 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
- Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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