I am a sports ignoramus. It’s my blind spot, a subject for which I have little interest, a very scary attitude for someone in the media business to have. So when I came to Birmingham two decades ago, the Magic City Classic held, well, no magic for me. Eventually, that changed. Continue reading →
The more I learn about the Civil Rights Movement here in Birmingham, the more I stand in awe. It took sheer nerve and raw power for those who put themselves in harm’s way to relentlessly pursue the true spirit of the American ideals, even when those ideals did not apply to them.
They truly believed in the Declaration of Independence’s towering words, “We,” meaning the founders of what would become the United States of America, “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Continue reading →
As I thought about what to write about the Alabama Education Department’s decision to take over Birmingham City Schools, the Supreme Court also came out with its decision to essentially uphold the basic tenants of Obamacare.
Now, what am I gonna do? Write two columns? Not enough time. So, I decided to look for the existential meaning of both these events happening on the same day. I got my answer, from a good friend who’s been closely following both issues.
His point is really simple: people don’t like forced change, even if it turns out to be good for them. Continue reading →
Wednesday Thursday, journalism colleague Kathy Times nationally launches her new website – aimed at improving the status of black-owned businesses – in Birmingham that is known as the universal vortex of the civil and human rights movement.
Where2Go411.com is an online destination to help connect black enterprises to local and national buyers, including city governments, school boards, counties, airport authorities, and other entities specifically seeking to aid the growth of these businesses.
Now, if you’re questioning the connection between Birmingham’s civil and human rights history and this announcement, please let me connect the dots for you. Continue reading →
How are the death of Trayvon Martin, the Civil Rights Movement, Black history, crime and education connected? I’m not 100 percent sure, but I’m going to give it a shot, so bear with me please. Continue reading →
I was distressed this morning to hear that the Birmingham School Board hastily called together a 5 p.m. meeting today – a religious holiday for most people – to discuss the contract of Superintendent Craig Witherspoon.
All the people who are reportedly not Dr. Witherspoon fans will be there. But several of his supporters, who had already planned to be out of town because of the holiday, won’t be there to have a say in what happens at this meeting.
For a while now, I have heard rumblings about plans to get rid of the superintendent, and it’s my fault for not taking enough time to learn exactly what problem(s) the grumblers were having with him. Continue reading →
I first met the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church during the 30-year anniversary of the church bombing, when NBC’s Brian Williams (before he was an anchor) and his television crews broadcast a live, national town-hall meeting from its sanctuary.
I was one of The Birmingham News reporters covering the event, and I was directed to interview him. At that time I only knew Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in terms of the Civil Rights Movement. So Rev. Shuttlesworth’s story fascinated me.
He recounted surviving the first bomb attack on his home. A blast that should have killed him instead inspired him because he knew that God spared him to lead the Movement in Birmingham. Emerging from the ruins of his wrecked home virtually unscathed, he was from then on the fiercest foe of segregation, he said, because he was never again afraid. Continue reading →