Tag: Larry Langford
Mayor Randall Woodfin and members of the Birmingham City Council announced Tuesday that they would support changing the name of the Birmingham CrossPlex to honor former Mayor Larry Langford, who died last month.
Langford spearheaded construction of the indoor track and aquatic complex in Five Points West, on which construction began in 2008. The $46 million facility opened in August 2011.
Woodfin and District 8 Councilor Steven Hoyt proposed the name change — to the Larry P. Langford Birmingham CrossPlex — during the council’s meeting Tuesday. District 9 Councilor John Hilliard, who did not arrive until later in the meeting, also has advocated for renaming the facility. “We believe it’s fitting for all the work he did and for bringing this to life in our community,” Woodfin said.
During his statement, Hoyt alluded to Langford’s controversial reputation, which included a 2009 conviction on charges of corruption and bribery for actions he took during his time as president of the Jefferson County Commission.
“We know that, no different than Angela Davis, you have to deal with the body of people’s work,” Hoyt said, referring to the recent Birmingham Civil Rights Institute controversy. “All of us have some issues one way or the other … but when you look at this city and see the things that were done under his leadership … We are better because Larry Langford came through here.” Read more.
Father Vernon Huguley acknowledged that many people couldn’t stand Larry Langford.
“But that’s alright too,” Langford’s former pastor said during his funeral Monday, “because if you can’t say ‘Amen,’ you need to say, ‘Ouch!’”
A few hundred people filled the sanctuary of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fairfield and spilled into the neighboring parish hall as Birmingham, Fairfield and Jefferson County said a final farewell to a man who lived life large.
“He was a good man with a good heart with the love of God in him,” Huguley said. “He wanted that love to be expressed and realized in the people who God placed in his circle.” Read more.
Hundreds of mourners had already walked by the rose-covered casket in the center of Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham CrossPlex by the time the visitation for Larry Langford was scheduled to begin.
The doors opened about 40 minutes before the scheduled start time of 2 p.m. because so many people had arrived early to pay their respects to the man whose resume included terms as mayor of Fairfield and Birmingham, and as president of the Jefferson County Commission.
People easily topping 1,000 lined up at three guestbooks. Each signed his name as validation of what Langford’s wife, Melva, and other relatives certainly already knew. The man whose life ended Wednesday in a Princeton Baptist Medical Center bed was more than a politician; he was a fixture in the community.
There were politicians, from state Sen. Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham, to state Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham. But the masses were regular people. Many had known Langford from his days growing up in Titusville’s Loveman Village public housing community and later as he graced the airwaves as a TV journalist.
Two former Birmingham mayors spoke during a ceremony after visitors had finished strolling by the guarded casket. One of them, Bernard Kincaid, recalled the three-word slogan – Let’s Do Something – that allowed Langford to emerge from a field of 10 to be elected mayor of Birmingham without a runoff in 2007. Read more.
Larry Langford, former mayor of Birmingham and Fairfield and commissioner for Jefferson County, a prominent and controversial figure in Jefferson County politics for the past four decades, died Tuesday at the age of 72.
Langford was perhaps best known as a man of ideas, some ambitious and others just off-the-wall. He proposed holding the 2020 Olympics in Birmingham and restoring streetcars to downtown. He’s credited with spreading the seeds of ideas that became some of the city’s most popular attractions, including Railroad Park, the Birmingham CrossPlex and Uptown entertainment district.
While mayor of Fairfield, Langford persuaded 11 area cities — in an area well known for its lack of intergovernmental cooperation — to work together to build the VisionLand amusement park, which opened in 1998 and went bankrupt in 2002.
“There is no doubt, Langford was a pioneer and visionary who was well ahead of his time,” said Commissioner Lashunda Scales, who now represents Larry Langford’s former county commission district.
But in the end, Langford almost died in prison, winning compassionate release and returning to Princeton Baptist Medical Center just 10 days before his death. Read more.
Former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, a prominent and controversial figure in Jefferson County politics over the past four decades, died today. He was 72.
Langford had suffered from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, emphysema, pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure, among other ailments.
He was granted compassionate release from federal prison just more than a week ago so he could spend his final days at home. He was transported to Princeton Baptist Medical Center on Dec. 29, where he died today.
Langford spent the past nine years in federal prison after being convicted in 2009 on charges of corruption and bribery for action during his time as Jefferson County Commission president.
In addition to his stint as Birmingham’s mayor from 2007 to 2009 and county commissioner before that, he also has served as mayor of Fairfield, member of the Birmingham City Council, and, before his political career, a television journalist.
Langford’s political career was marked by his outspokenness and his advocacy for ambitious projects. He was well known for one of his campaign slogans, “Let’s do something!”
This is a developing story and will be updated.