Birmingham highlights : History, hospitality and heart
History, hospitality and heart were themes of my time in Birmingham. Civil rights history is a core element of this rich city and rightfully so. In addition, ‘the Magic City’ has a wide spectrum of unique restaurants, cultural sites and scenic vistas. My three days were filled with opportunities to learn, connect and enjoy the rich heritage of the city.
Birmingham’s legacy and tradition seems to serve strongly as a foundation for growth, renewal and reconciliation – as opposed to an anchor to the past. This rich history is a vital core of the city and is respectfully and prominently showcased throughout the city – as a vehicle for education, remembrance and homage. In addition to Martin Luther King Jr., it is a moving experience to gain a deeper understanding of the history – heroics and sacrifice of prominent civil rights figures such as Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and Chief John L. Swindle. Bethel Baptist in Collegeville, 16th Street Baptist and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute offer a powerful opportunity to learn and engage with this important part of our country’s history. With this knowledge and better understanding of our past, it is my hope and prayer that we collectively can and WILL leverage this for reconciliation and global good.
“The time is always right to do what is right” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Another key element to Birmingham’s charisma is the traditional southern vibe and food. To me, the food experience served as a living example of the city’s diverse and rich culture and history. Home to a strong immigrant population one can easily find delicious and unique food experiences ranging from traditional Southern Soul food, Greek, Italian, and much more.
A trip to Gip’s Juke Joint is the ideal way to continue your Alabama immersion experience. This hidden hot spot in Bessemer is well worth the trip and is heaven for Blue’s Lover’s. Owner Henry Gipson (aka Mr. Gip) hasn’t let his 9 decades of life slow him down…quite the contrary. He was dancing and working the crowd during our Saturday night visit.
This piece merely touches the surface of all the important culture, history and heritage. While I only had a few short days to in this Magic City, it was an enriching experience in so many ways. I encourage you explore Birmingham to with an open heart and mind – and an empty stomach. Already looking forward to my next visit.
In closing, I’d like to share quote featured at Kelly Ingram Park across from 16th Street Baptist. It’s a mantra that we all could benefit from each and every day. Let’s live into it this powerful call to action!
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank
For more information and highlights from my visit:
Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau
Learn & Immerse
As is customary in the industry, I was sponsored by the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau