History of Birmingham

History of Birmingham, Alabama

The city of Birmingham, Alabama goes all the way back to 1871, the year it was founded. The town was formed when three farm towns merged into one during the Reconstruction period. Birmingham continued to grow, accumulating neighboring towns and becoming a powerful industrial center. Birmingham specialized in the industries of mining, iron, and steel, as well as railroads.

Birmingham was settled by people who were largely of English ancestry. Likewise, Birmingham, Alabama drew its name from the original Birmingham of England, which happened to be one of England’s largest industrial cities. Some say that the city was so successful due to its ability to employ cheap labor from the more rural parts of the state and put laborers to work in the industry, which certainly gave it an edge over the industries in New England and the Midwest. Regardless, Birmingham continued to grow and thrive. It experienced a prolific growth from 1881-1920 that prompted the nickname ‘The Magic City’ and ‘The Pittsburgh of the South’, due to its large population and focus on iron, steel, and railroading. By the 1960s, it had become one of the largest industrial centers in the South.

Notable Events In The History of Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham eventually became the center of much of struggle for African-Americans’ civil rights in the fifties and sixties. Fred Shuttlesworth, a preacher, was one of Birmingham’s strongest proponents of the movement. Birmingham experienced several bombings related to the civil rights issue, some even calling Birmingham “Bombingham” as a result. Shuttlesworth believed in being fearless in the face of violence. Shuttlesworth co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to come to Birmingham in 1863, where King had once been a pastor. They launched “Project C” (the “c” for Confrontation”), and held daily sit ins and mass marches, met with attack, arrests, and police repression. These events eventually led to desegregation and the famous Civil Rights Act of 1964.

King also wrote the famous Letter from Birmingham Jail in Birmingham, and the city experienced another bombing that killed four African-American girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church. The bombing inspired Dudley Randall’s poem, “The Ballad of Birmingham”, and the song “Alabama” by jazz musician John Coltrane. Birmingham also was the site of the Birmingham Pledge in 1998, a community commitment against prejudice and racism, which attorney James Rotch introduced at the Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast and has been adapted in every state in the U.S. and over 20 countries abroad.

Birmingham Today

Today, Birmingham is actually the largest city in Alabama. From humble beginnings, the city has risen to a healthy population of over 200,000 people, with the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan area being home to well over a million people as well. Birmingham’s economy also continued to diversify as it moved into the twentieth century. Today, Birmingham has a thriving manufacturing industry, as well as electric, medical care, college, banking, telecommunications, and insurance industries, among others. It is a large center of business and is home to six companies in the Fortune 1000. It is home to a mix of suburbs and city, with an impressive skyline. It is also a thriving home to culture, boasting dance, theater, museums, art, festivals and more. From humble industrial beginnings, Birmingham has evolved into a diverse and lively city, home to industry and Alabamians alike.

Famous People from Birmingham, AL

10 Famous People from Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama has been home to many impressive people. This southern city has produced many remarkable actors, musicians, athletes, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Here are some of the most Famous People from Birmingham, AL.

1. Courteney Cox – Actress (June 15th, 1964- )
Cox is widely known for her role as Monica Geller on the sitcom Friends. She was on the Emmy Award-winning sitcom for ten years. She also appeared in other big screen films including November, the Scream series and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

2. Condoleezza Rice – Government Official (November 14, 1954- )
She must be one of the most stellar women to come from Birmingham, AL. She was born in Birmingham, to Jamaican immigrants’ parents. From January 28, 2005 to January 20, 2009, Rice served as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State.

3. Vonetta Flowers – Bobsledder, Olympic gold medalist (October 29, 1973- )
In 2002, Vonetta Flowers entered history books as the first black athlete in the world to win an Olympic Winter Games gold medal.

4. Ruben Studdard – R&B, Pop and Gospel Artist (September 12, 1978- )
Birmingham has proved its world-class musical talent. The city has produced two winners of American Idol. Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard was the 2003 American Idol winner. Taylor Hicks, also from Birmingham, won the coveted prize in 2006. After Idol, Studdard has recorded and released five studio albums. He is best known for his hit songs such as “Sorry 2004,” “I Need an Angel”, and “Flying Without Wings.”

5. Helen Keller – Educator, Journalist (1880–1968)
Helen Adams Keller was a phenomenal woman who proved to the world that disability is not inability. She overcame many odds after brain fever left her blind, deaf and mute at only two years of age. Her inspirational story and amazing accomplishments remain alive.

6. Amber Nicole Benson – Writer, Author, Director, Actress (January 8, 1977- )
Amber Benson is best recognized for her 2000-2002 role as Tara on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She has acted in many movies including King of the Hill, The Crush, Imaginary Crimes, and ByeBye Love. She has also written and directed various scripts.

7. Wayne Rogers – Television Actor, Money Manager and Fox Network Financial Pundit (April 7, 1933- )
Born as William Wayne McMillan Rogers III, Wayne started off as a navy officer before venturing into professional action. He is widely known for his role as Captain “Trapper John” McIntyre in the CBS television series, M*A*S*H. Apart from acting Wayne Rogers has also become famous as a shrewd investor, money manager, and investment strategist and advisor.

8. Robert R. McCammon – Horror Writer (July 11, 1952- )
Robert Rick McCammon was one of the writers who has shaped American horror literature. He has published 14 horror books, fantasy books, and short stories. His most famous books include Darkroom (1981), The Twilight Zone, and The Wolf’s Hour.

9. John Murdoch Harbert III – Billionaire Businessman (July 19, 1921 – March 31, 1995)
In the heart of downtown Birmingham, there is The Harbert Center. The center is in honor of the late billionaire and Birmingham’s son, John Murdoch Harbert III. He is best known for turning $6,000 in craps winnings into a construction behemoth, Harbert Corporation.

10. Kate Jackson – Actress, Director, and Producer (October 29, 1948- )
Kate Jackson rose to fame as Sabrina Duncan in the popular television series Charlie’s Angels. Kate has been nominated three times for the prestigious Emmy Award.

Birmingham Alabama Hotel Reviews

Birmingham, AL Hotel Reviews

Drury Inn and Suites: 160 State Farm Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35209 (205) 940-9500

The Drury Inn and Suites is a very nice hotel, though they allow smokers. However, if you want to enjoy a great experience at a very reasonable price, this hotel is for you. The meals are typical of any great hotel, but you will get a lot of variety. In addition, the rooms are very well laid out as well as comfortable. Both the management and staff go above and beyond to exceed each one of your expectations. Moreover, you will find out that the evening reception is awesome and the ambiance is quite comfortable as well.

Hampton Inn: 30 State Farm Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35209 (205) 313-2060

The Hampton Inn features a friendly staff and clean rooms. In addition, a movie theater as well as many restaurants can be found at a decent walking distance. If you arrive late, the employees will even offer food while you wait. Isn’t it amazing? Yes, it is. They can even send you breakfast every morning, and it cannot get better than this. If you love coffee and cookies, this inn has them in huge quantities. The lobby is both inviting and clean. And you won’t have any trouble if you need to get something to eat. Though the pullout might not be clean, they will solve the issue.

Drury Inn: 3510 Grandview Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35243 (205) 967-2450

The Drury Inn has all the amenities that you should find in a high quality hotel. In fact, each meal is quite good including breakfast as they have a wide selection of food. The staff will make you feel like royalty as their behavior is always attentive. Few hotels can match what you will find inside this inn. In fact, the rooms are sparkling clean including bathrooms. For instance, the tile walls and tile floor truly glitter. You won’t see any kind of crud pushed into a corner from mopping. The room”s beds are so good that you might even find around 6 pillows on your king size bed.

Homewood Suites: 215 Inverness Center Dr, Birmingham, AL 35242 (205) 995-9823

The Homewood Suites in Birmingham offers the large suits you have been looking for. In addition, the rooms are tidy as well as clean. The bathrooms are very well-stocked as well as clean. The staff is always helpful and kind offering a plentiful breakfast at all times. Though the omelettes might not taste so great, the breakfast is awesome overall. The rooms are nice and clean and everything here is just ready to go. They also offer free Wi-Fi as well as an excellent tea and coffee. The location of this inn is just awesome too.

Hilton Garden Inn: 520 Wildwood Cir N, Birmingham, AL 35209 (205) 314-0274

The Hilton Garden Inn will give you the fantastic stay that you have been looking for. This hotel has been renovated, and you will be amazed at how good it looks at all times. With a cozy, airy lobby and friendly staff, this inn is just awesome. The rooms also have carpets and new furnishing. The area around the inn is safe and the restaurant is fine. Finding peace in this wooded, quiet setting is very easy too. The hotel also holds a “meet and greet” event that you will find just incredible as the place is lovely and very good looking.

Best Restaurants in Birmingham, AL

What Are the Best Restaurants in Birmingham, AL?

Since it is not a big town, it is not hard to find the best restaurants in Birmingham, AL. We went with a food tour and here are some of the best restaurants we have tasted:

Little Donkey: 2821 Central Ave, 101, Homewood, AL 35209 (205) 703-7000

This quaint Mexican restaurant came from the same people who brought us Jim N’ Nick’s. They have a specialty that they serve per day and it is recommended to try the Pork Belly Taco every Tuesday and the Baby Back Ribs every Saturday. They always have a lot of people eating there so it is understandable why they don’t take reservations. You are missing half of your life if you have yet to try their freshly made corn tortillas.

Black Market Bar + Grill: 3411 Colonnade Pkwy #800, Birmingham, AL 35243 (205) 697-8787

Some would perceive this place as just another drinking destination and that is where they are wrong. They also serve awesome bar food like the Bad Exampler. It is something that contains literally anything they want to put in it just get you hooked including chips, cheese sticks, eggrolls and an empanada. If you happen to drop by somewhere between breakfast and lunch then you should try their brunch menu including the Black Market Breakfast Pizza which contains your favorite breakfast goodies like scrambled eggs, sausage and caramelized onions on a pizza bun. On the menu, there is a warning that says the BMBP is delicious and they can never be more right. They also serve some of the best craft beer and local beer choices in the city for those who are always thirsty.

Steel City Pops: 329 Summit Blvd, Birmingham, AL 35243 (205) 969-8770

If you are health conscious but want to get some dessert then head over to Steel City Pops for some of their fruity popsicle sticks. All their products are made from natural ingredients which means they are perfect for vegetarians. It is also a good idea to check back to their website every now and then because they always create new flavors. The whole idea came from a man who wanted to fulfill his dream of starting his own restaurant so he quit his job and lived his dream along with the help of his friends and family. The flavors taste sweet but their ingredients show that they are completely healthy. For example, the Buttermilk flavor tastes like cheesecake but it contains organic cane sugar, buttermilk, vanilla bean that would make it taste like cheesecake.

Saw’s Soul Kitchen: 215 41st St S, Birmingham, AL 35222 (205) 591-1409

No relation to the classic horror movie franchise, Mike Wilson must be so proud of himself as Saw’s has continuously been named of one of the best Southern restaurants in the area including #1 of The Best Barbeque Across America in Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine. Their pulled pork sandwich is something that will make you come back for more while the smoked chicken with bbq sauce is highly recommended due to a lot of locals always craving for their bbq sauce. The restaurants became so successful when it opened that it prompted Mike to team up with other partners to open up a couple more branches in the Birmingham area.