Category Archives: Race relations

Are black politicians what’s wrong with Birmingham?

Jonathan Austin, President of the Birmingham City Council & Mayor William Bell
Jonathan Austin, President of the Birmingham City Council & Mayor William Bell

Week after week I read comments on al.com and on social media blaming Birmingham’s misfortunes on black politicians.

They infer Birmingham would be a better city if whites were in control.

Recently ComebackTown published a piece on efforts to designate our Civil Rights District as a new National Historic Park.

I immediately received a tweet, “Aren’t you embarrassed by what black people have done to Birmingham once they took COMPLETE political control of the city?” Continue reading Are black politicians what’s wrong with Birmingham?

A white mayor for Birmingham?

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Last year who would have predicted that Donald Trump might win the Republican Primary?

Last year who would have thought that Bernie Sanders would still be giving Hillary Clinton heartburn?

People have become so unhappy with the status quo that they are willing to vote for outsiders and non-traditional candidates.

It’s become totally impossible to predict elections and that may be true for Birmingham also.

Continue reading A white mayor for Birmingham?

Why a divided Birmingham can’t survive

Maury Shevin
Maury Shevin

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Maury Shevin.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

There are two Birminghams.

At least two.

The historical reason for our two Birminghams is known to most of us.  Our history of racial segregation and economic colonialism is pretty widely known.  The result of Birmingham operating under those conditions for nearly all of its first 100 years, has left people of good intentions trying to overcome a terrible legacy–a legacy of unprincipled abuse leads to a world of fear and doubt and mistrust.

How can any white man, in a suit, be trusted? Continue reading Why a divided Birmingham can’t survive

Birmingham is surprisingly awesome

Rotary Trail--Birmingham is surprisingly awesome
Rotary Trail–Birmingham is surprisingly awesome (Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Birmingham)

Surprisingly Awesome is my favorite podcast.  Each episode explores topics that would put most people to sleep, but the show makes boring topics interesting and fun.

Subjects like pigeons, mold, or concrete become fascinating.

Birmingham, Alabama would be the perfect topic for the show.

Birmingham may sound boring—but Birmingham is Surprisingly Awesome. Continue reading Birmingham is surprisingly awesome

When white people tell black people what to do

Race is the big elephant in Birmingham's room
Race is the big elephant in Birmingham’s room (Photo courtesy of Birmingham Zoo)

If you want to measure the financial vitality of a region–look at job growth.

Our Birmingham seven county metropolitan areahas fewer people employed today than in 2007.

That’s nearly a decade with a net loss of jobs.

Nashville, Charlotte, and Austin have had double digit increases.

According to the Birmingham Business Journal, (Metropolitan) “Birmingham is down about 19,100 jobs from its pre-recession peak.”

Much of the blame belongs to our racial divide–provoked by our fragmented government structure.

Angry blacks rail against white government Continue reading When white people tell black people what to do

Alabama: A great State unless you are black, gay, or Hispanic

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore
Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore

I recently wrote a piece, “Birmingham punished for being in Alabama,” where I pointed out that job growth in Birmingham and around the state has been relatively flat while other cities in the South are flourishing.

Our Birmingham-Hoover seven county metropolitan area has fewer people working now than we did at the beginning of the recession.

I regularly blame Birmingham’s lack of job growth on too many competing governments, but being located in Alabama is not a positive. Continue reading Alabama: A great State unless you are black, gay, or Hispanic

White man responds to black woman’s Birmingham childhood memories

Jerry Carter
Jerry Carter

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Jerry Carter, wrote a piece in December titled, “Birmingham: The city of my youth makes a comeback.”  RavenBarnes responded with “Birmingham of my youth–from a black perspective.” Now Mr. Carter answers Ms. Barnes.

 If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

Most likely, each of us can reach back into our pasts and re-live certain things that formed our opinions and lifestyles.  Continue reading White man responds to black woman’s Birmingham childhood memories

Rich folks & black politicians holding Birmingham down?

Tanner Colby authored book, "Some of my best friends are black
Tanner Colby authored book, “Some of my best friends are black

Unfortunately I didn’t attend the Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast January 19th, but immediately after Tanner Colby, the speaker, began his remarks, the texts and e-mails started coming—telling me I should have been there.

Since I did not hear the speech and have been unable to obtain a written transcript, I am basing my remarks on e-mails, texts, and comments from friends and from the article about the speech on al.com titled, Tiny suburban kingdoms, desire for black power keep Birmingham from achieving MLK dream, author says.”

Tanner Colby, author of the book, “Some of my best friends are black,” spent five years living in Vestavia Hills before going off to college in 1993. Continue reading Rich folks & black politicians holding Birmingham down?

Birmingham of my youth–from a black perspective

3rd Avenue North facing East with Alabama & Lyric Theatres
Third Avenue North facing east from 18th Street with Lyric & Alabama Theatres–remembered differently by black & white

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is RavenBarnes. As far as I know, I don’t know Mr./Ms. Barnes since his/her comments below were published in his/her user name on al.com. This is his/her response to a guest blog recently written by a white male–Jerry Carter– Birmingham:  The city of my youth makes a comeback. 

 If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

It seems that we spent our childhoods in Birmingham around the same time period, but although I remember a few things differently than Mr. Carter, I also remember being able to laugh and enjoy the Birmingham that I was given. Continue reading Birmingham of my youth–from a black perspective

Time for our old Birmingham leadership to croak

CasketThe above title is not my quote because I would be one of the “croakers,” but it’s something I hear from the younger generation regularly.  Okay, they may not use the word, “croak,” but they say it’s time for our old leadership to step aside.

The next generation of Birmingham leaders does not understand our racial divide.  They grew up in a different time and they see the possibilities and advantages of a common vision.

Steve Boswell, a young professional, in his guest blog characterized our older citizens and leaders as ‘doubters’—“a group who believe the racial divide has evolved into an immortal chasm that will not be bridged.” Continue reading Time for our old Birmingham leadership to croak