The next part of our journey took us to Birmingham.
Our first stop was a visitation of Old Bethel Baptist Church. We learned why Birmingham has been nicknamed “Bombingham.” Here’s an essay I wrote, with a photo, about my experience in Birmingham called “Bombingham.”
Next, we visited Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park, with commentary by Janice Kelsey, an original participant in the “Children’s Campaign,” one of the most significant aspects of the Birmingham Movement.
We took a tour of the exhibits at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute with Rip Patton, Catherine Burks Brooks, and Janice Kelsey. The Institute includes exhibits, archives and educational programs supporting the promotion of civil and human rights throughout the world. The Institute is a powerful example of the redemptive value of the history that defines Birmingham as a central place and time in the American civil rights struggle.
We had conversations with Odessa Woolfolk, founding member and chair Emerita of the board of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and Catherine Burks Brooks, Birmingham Movement veteran and 1961 Freedom Rider.
Later we went to the law offices of Haskell-Slaughter and listened to a presentation on civil rights era “cold cases” by C. Douglas “Doug” Jones, special prosecutor in State of Alabama vs. Thomas Edwin Blanton, Jr., and State of Alabama vs. Bobby Frank Cherry (The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing cases).