Birmingham’s pivotal and turbulent role in the civil rights movement is well documented and studied throughout the U.S. and around the world.
Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from guest speakers J. Mason Davis of the law firm Dentons Sirote, DeJuana Thompson, president and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, and author T.K. Thorne. The evening will also include docent-led tours of an upcoming exhibition, and drinks, appetizers and networking with the project’s community partners and donors.
The phased project is comprised of current and upcoming elements, including a self-guided TravelStorys audio walking tour; an on-site, interactive exhibit; a documentary short film funded by the Alabama Humanities Alliance; a permanent space for learning, dialogue and reflection; and continued research, education and programming.
In addition, Temple Beth El recently installed and dedicated a new historic marker approved by the Alabama Historical Association commemorating the 1958 attempted bombing of the synagogue. The failed attempt was part of a rash of bombings throughout the 1950s-60s against Black neighborhoods and Jewish institutions in the South intended to halt progress toward ending racial segregation.
“It is our hope that by leveraging existing research and original content, reflecting on how the past is connected to the present and future, and building bridges within the broader community, we’ll spark an ongoing conversation on this subject for generations to come,” said Norman.
The Beth El Civil Rights Experience is open to anyone with an interest in civil rights or Jewish history, and welcomes visiting tourist groups, school groups and educators, scholars, researchers and human rights organizations.
The project is made possible by the Alabama Humanities Alliance, Dentons Sirote, the Charles and Esther Lee Kimerling Media Fund (Temple Beth El Foundation), Leslie and Sol Kimerling, Alabama Power, the Maxine and Stanley Lapidus Special Projects Fund (Temple Beth El Foundation), the Tenenbaum/Spielberger Tikkun Olam Fund, the Temple Beth El Men’s Club and the Southern Jewish Historical Society.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)