Tag: Learning From Birmingham

New Book Explores the Meaning of Birmingham

“Learning From Birmingham: A Journey Into History and Home” (University of Alabama Press, 2023) by Julie Buckner Armstrong

Birmingham is a place that requires explanation. The city’s racial past makes it a source of fascination and contempt. If you live in Birmingham, you know that outsiders often come at you with questions, and sometimes attitude. For African American residents, the attitude can come in the form of hillbilly jokes and a lack of respect. It was these type experiences that inspired Birmingham poet Dianne Mills to compose the wonderfully profane “Don’t Say S—t ‘bout Birmingham.”

White residents also experience a lack of respect from outsiders, a sense — sometimes said out loud — that we must be a bit backward or simply not smart enough to realize that we live in a terrible place and should probably leave. White residents can also experience suspicion regarding our racial attitudes. Call it the taint of Bull Connor. But for many of Birmingham’s white sons and daughters, there are no questions an outsider can ask that we have not already asked ourselves. Read more.