Category Archives: Race relations

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

Birmingham–the city too confused to hate

Mi Pueblo
Mi Pueblo

There’s no way my wife and I could have been prepared for our first visit to Mi Pueblo—the new 44,186-square-foot multicultural supermarket that recently opened on Green Springs Highway.

The store is bright, clean, and stacked high with fresh meats and poultry, fresh seafood and fish with products from all over the world.  My guess is that Mi Pueblo does more business in a day than the Food World it replaced did in a week. Continue reading Birmingham–the city too confused to hate

What Birmingham can learn from Ferguson Missouri

St. Louis
St. Louis

In September of 2002 Dave Adkisson, the then President of our Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce (now BBA), and I got up for an early morning jog.  We were two of approximately one hundred Birmingham political and community leaders who had traveled to St. Louis to learn about the city and the Edward Jones Dome—home of the St. Louis Rams.

It was really dark and foggy that morning and we got lost.  When we asked some local joggers for directions, they were curious  as to why we were in St. Louis.

When we told them we came to learn about their city, they responded with an incredulous, “You want to learn about St. Louis?” Continue reading What Birmingham can learn from Ferguson Missouri

Is Steven Hoyt evil?

Councilor Steven Hoyt
Councilor Steven Hoyt

When you read some of the remarks by (I assume) white commenters on al.com, you almost have to come to the conclusion that Steven Hoyt is the devil—some kind of black racist.  Councilor Hoyt is the City Council representative from Birmingham’s District 8.

Councilor Hoyt regularly seems to be in the headlines standing up for African-American inclusion when there are economic opportunities for individuals or businesses created by the City of Birmingham.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Continue reading Is Steven Hoyt evil?

Birmingham: Why do we continue to embarrass ourselves?

Birmingham Water Works

Some folks want me to take sides in the Birmingham Water Works Board (BWWB) squabble, but that’s not my role.  My role as publisher of ComebackTown is to place a spotlight on why we continue to put ourselves in such embarrassing situations.

For those of you who don’t know about the controversy, some folks in our State Legislature have determined that the BWWB is broken.  They want to increase the size of the board to bring about broader regional representation, implement term limits, cap board member compensation, and require public hearings before proposed rate increases. Continue reading Birmingham: Why do we continue to embarrass ourselves?

Birmingham and the Detached Millennials

Steve Boswell
Steve Boswell

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

Today’s guest blogger is Steve Boswell.  We love to hear from young professionals.   If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

“Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement’s commencement in Birmingham. A movement whose impact would serve to pave the path of minority progress far beyond the streets of downtown Birmingham. When I reflect on what happened fifty years ago in Birmingham, there are four people who immediately come to mind. Four people, separated in pairs, and pitted against one another as implacable foes. On the one side were Continue reading Birmingham and the Detached Millennials