Saturday, October 24, 2009

Birmingham, AL

I went up to Birmingham today to see the Met's live HD broadcast of "Aida" (Birmingham was the closest city to have a movie theater that was carrying it).

On the drive up I65 I came across this:

It's a giant Confederate battle flag perched at the top of a hill right up against the road. The Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans bought the land and put the flag up as a gigantic "fuck you" to everyone who objects to the Confederate flag. It's the first real indication I've had that I'm now living in the South. I saw a sign for some kind of Confederate memorial or museum nearby; I'll have to check it out.

After the broadcast I drove to downtown Birmingham and walked around the area. I started with the 16th Street Baptist Church that was bombed by the Klan in 1963; four girls were killed.

Across the street from the church is Kelly Ingram Park. There are sculptures in the park that depict the violence inflicted on civil rights protesters during a May 1963 protest in the park (you've most likely seen footage of it in civil rights documentaries). Apparently people have complained that the statues are too vivid -- well, the police really did unleash attack dogs on children and blasted them with fire hoses. They show the truth. Suck it up.

Downtown Birmingham was actually quite nice.

You can view the pictures I took here.

There are lots of well kept brick and stone buildings from the 1890s through 1940s. It looks like they haven't ever torn anything down. The town, though, was deserted -- it's a business district with no restaurants or shops. It's a shame because it could be a great downtown area because of all of the historic buildings.


  1. Who on earth would stand by the ideals represented by a confederate flag...time for you to get out of dodge.

  2. I haven't even made it to Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis Day -- both are state holidays in Alabama.