Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King led a non-violent protest against racial segregation that landed him in the Birmingham City Jail. At the time, Birmingham was one of the most racially divided cities in America. King was a leader in a campaign that attracted media attention to the adverse treatment of black Americans, bringing national force to bear on the issue of segregation. Although desegregation occurred slowly in Birmingham, the campaign was a major factor in the national push towards the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in hiring practices and public services in the United States.
Married to a native Birminghamian who grew up during the Civil Rights era and knew nothing of the chaos on his doorstep, I have had an avid interest in how Birmingham went from the nickname "Bombingham" to one of Forbes top communities in just 50 years. As a Birmingham Historical Society Tour volunteer, I learned my adopted city's history and was charmed by it, until I saw what made our Southern city so lovely and hospitable: the "Negroes" who worked as low-paid slaves in our homes, but were not allowed to drink water from our water fountains. My husband, raised in the South, saw nothing wrong with his grandmother's beloved maid cooking their huge Sunday lunch, and then eating hers over the sink. Full profile ⋅ Leave a Review
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