“Central City’s Joy and Pain: Solidarity, Survival, and Soul in a Birmingham Housing Project”: (University of Georgia Press, 2024) by Jerome E. Morris.
Jerome Morris has written a book about home.
Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s in the Central City housing project on the northeast edge of downtown Birmingham, Morris came of age in a community that could be by turns brutal and nurturing.
It was, he writes, a place of “Block parties, freeze cups, shooting marbles … kissing in the hallways, fighting, borrowing butter and eggs, Powell School, my mama, five older brothers and a younger sister, the free summer lunch program, the Double Dutch Bus, Mr. Hook’s store, the Electric Poppers and the CC Poppers, free school breakfast and lunch, due bills, and the music of Frankie Beverly and Maze.”
Central City was a world of extremes — a world where many men were in prison, out of prison, or on the road to prison. But also it was a world where older people mentored and watched protectively over young people. Read more.
Movements for civil rights and workers’ rights often intersect. But many times the labor part of the picture is overlooked. That’s the case in Birmingham, which is well known for its civil rights history. Read more.
Birmingham Council to Sell Old Scott Elementary, Nearby Community Center to Group to Establish a Community Health Center
The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday voted to sell the old Scott Elementary School and a neighboring community center to a group planning a health clinic at the property. The measure passed despite some pushback from community members, particularly those already involved in operating a community center there. Read more.
SHILOH COMMUNITY — If it’s been raining, the kids bring two pairs of shoes to the bus stop.
One pair is for before school—for the trek through high water in the historically Black Shiloh community in Coffee County, Alabama.
“They roll their pants legs up, too,” said Otis Andrews, who’s lived in the community nearly all his life.
Once they’ve made it onto the bus, they can change into their second pair, drying out for the school day to come.
“That’s not acceptable,” Andrews said. “It’s really not. They shouldn’t have to do this.”
Shiloh, he explained, is naturally flat. Flooding didn’t start until after the state elevated and expanded U.S. 84. Read more.
Birmingham City officials are beginning a full court press to get all third graders reading on grade level or proficiency by the end of the year. “This is it everybody,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin in an interview last week. “The test is less than 90 days away, and every third grader in the state of Alabama, including the 1,300-plus third graders in Birmingham City Schools will take this test.” Read more.
Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Mark Sullivan expected to see reading scores decline after the pandemic. When he saw the first results in coming out of the pandemic, he was relieved to see student reading did not fall as much as he expected.
“But the math scores plummeted,” he said.
The next steps Birmingham officials took may have helped turn them around. Read more.
Richard Harp couldn’t believe his ears when he learned the massive underground landfill fire near Moody, just a football field away from his home, is still burning and may never be extinguished. Read more.
With Super Tuesday looming, political pundits across the country have been scrutinizing Alabama and the state’s newly redrawn Congressional District 2 because it offers the possibility of a second Democratic representative being elected from the state. As dominoes fall, that could affect the split between Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House. A big spotlight will be turned on Alabama all election season because of that.
But that’s hardly the only race on Alabama’s ballot.
Two congressional districts that cover Jefferson County are on the ballot, and incumbents have challengers from their own parties in each.
State and local judges populate a lot of the ballot. And party nominees will be selected in Jefferson County races such as tax collector and Board of Education members. Read more.
For more information on candidates up and down the ballot, read:
The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution urging Truist Bank to reconsider plans to close its Roebuck branch in March. “A great deal of residents in that area benefit from that branch, rely on that branch and would be negatively impacted if that branch were to close,” said Councilor Clinton Woods, adding that investments are going into the immediate area. Read more.
Sheriff Mark Pettway made an early appeal to the Jefferson County Commission to consider allotting more money to his department to help keep deputies from leaving for other agencies in the area. Read more.
Like many in the Gulf South, Will Burt’s power bill spiked in January due to extreme weather. But how much of the increase can be attributed to the cold? Read more.
The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution expressing sympathies for six people killed in recent shootings. The victims included a city employee as well as the pregnant cousin of Mayor Randall Woodfin.
In his comments to the council Tuesday, the mayor expressed his frustration with the lack of leads in finding suspects in the shootings.
“When you have something like this happen in your community, it’s important we enact justice as swiftly as possible. But it turns out BPD can’t do it themselves … it takes people with information to come forward,” Woodfin said. Read more.
After some spirited debate and two rounds of balloting, the Executive Committee of the Jefferson County Democratic Party left the Five Points West Library on Saturday with its nominee for county treasurer in the November general election. Read more.
How Jefferson County Pulled Off a Billion-Dollar Refinancing to Help Stabilize Sewer Rates and Regain Trust
Jimmie Stephens remembers he wasn’t proud of Jefferson County when he took office as a county commissioner in 2010.
“I was embarrassed and ashamed of what Jefferson County had become and what its reputation was, in the state and in the nation,” recalled Stephens, now the president of the commission.
Jefferson County had become by most accounts one of the worst financially managed governments in the nation laying off more than 1,000 of its employees and filing the then-largest municipal bankruptcy in November 2011.
But Stephens, his fellow commissioners, county manager and department heads no longer feel that sense of shame and embarrassment, they say.
Last month, Jefferson County got positive reviews from investors and financial publications that would have been unimaginable more than 10 years ago. Read more.
Two alarming recent headlines:
• “Why the age issue is hurting Biden so much more than Trump” (New York Times, Feb. 10)
• “Public equally concerned about Biden’s and Trump’s classified documents, new poll finds” (nbcnews.com, Jan. 29)
In politics, public perceptions like these arise because many people magnify events that support their existing views and distort or ignore those that don’t. That’s not the fault of the mainstream news media. But in some cases when perception does not match reality, the media are very much to blame. Read more.