Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

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The 16th Street Baptist Church section of the Milestone exhibition gallery in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, in Birmingham, Alabama. A bomb went off at the church on September 15,1963. -- (HABS photo)

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a large interpretive museum and research center in Birmingham, Alabama that depicts the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The Institute is located in the Civil Rights District, which includes the historic 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, Fourth Avenue Business District, and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame located in the Carver Theatre. The Institute opened in November 1992, and had more than 25,000 visitors during its first week.

Exhibits[edit]

The Institute showcases a walking journey through the "living institution", which displays the lessons of the past as a positive way to chart new directions for the future. The permanent exhibitions are a self-directed journey through Birmingham's contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and human rights struggles. Multimedia exhibitions focus on the history of African-American life and the struggle for civil rights. The Oral History Project, one of the museum's multimedia exhibits, documents Birmingham's role in the Civil Rights Movement through the voices of movement participants. The museum is an affiliate in the Smithsonian Affiliations program. Through this program the museum can acquire long-term loans and is currently hosting the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service exhibition "Let Your Motto Be resistance."[1]

The archives of the Institute serve as a national resource for educators and researchers. They are a repository for the collection and preservation of civil rights documents and artifacts. The archival information system is computer-linked to the Birmingham Public Library and is a vital component of the Archives Division.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is also a community resource for meetings, seminars and workshops. A Community Meeting Room is available to local organizations.

The museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.

Legislation[edit]

On May 24, 2013, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 360 from the 113th United States Congress, a bill which awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley to commemorate the lives they lost 50 years ago in the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church.[2] The gold medal was given to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to display or loan out to other museums.[2]

On March 21, 2016, Rep. Terri Sewell introduced to the United States House of Representatives H.R. 4817, a bill that would designate the Birmingham Civil Rights District, including the Civil Rights Institute, as a National Park. On March 28, 2016, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Federal Lands.[3] However, a portion of the district was designated by executive order by President Obama as the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument on January 12, 2017[4][5].


Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award[edit]

An annual award established in 2002:

  • Actor and humanitarian Danny Glover received the award in 2003
  • Angela Davis was originally to receive the 2018 award but it was soon rescinded and no alternate recipient was chosen to replace her. The Birmingham Institute stated, "after closer examination of Ms. Davis’ statements and public record, we concluded that she unfortunately does not meet all of the criteria on which the award is based," based on her support of the boycotting of Israeli institutions in support of Palestine.[6][7] On 25 January, the BCRI reversed their decision to rescind the Shuttleworth Award to Davis, stating that there should have been more consultation.[8][9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Birmingham Civil Rights Institute". Local News. Affiliate Details. 2011. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 15 Jul 2011.
  2. ^ a b "H.R. 360 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  3. ^ "H.R.4817 - Birmingham Civil Rights National Historical Park". Congress.gov. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  4. ^ Pres. Obama signs executive order establishing Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument. WBRC, 11 January 2017
  5. ^ "FACT SHEET: President Obama Designates National Monuments Honoring Civil Rights History". The White House. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  6. ^ "ANNUAL SHUTTLESWORTH". BCRI. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
  7. ^ "Angela Davis Returns to Birmingham, Reflecting on Palestinian Rights & Fight for Freedom Everywhere". Democracy Now!. Retrieved 2019-02-19.
  8. ^ "Angela Davis to receive civil rights award after museum reverses decision". The Guardian. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Reversing Course, Civil Rights Museum to Honor Angela Davis After All". Haaretz. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°30′58″N 86°48′54″W / 33.516°N 86.815°W / 33.516; -86.815