Whether planning a visit or a move to scenic and urban Birmingham, Alabama; you might be in over your head. Birmingham is not only the biggest city in the south, but is also a major industrial city. Birmingham, with its flaws is still one of the most attractive cities in the south, and definitely worth exploring its culture, people and history.
Birmingham was built in toward the end of the Civil War in 1871. Birmingham became an overnight success; leading the south with coal, iron, steel and railroading exports. Booming during the early 1900’s Birmingham’s natural resources of limestone, iron ore and coal made it possible for the ‘magic city’ to forge its name into America’s backbone.
Before Birmingham became ‘Birmingham’ it was known as Eltyon – a pioneer farming settlement. From the 1830’s to 1860’s Birmingham was nothing more than a small southern village of no significance. Birmingham’s only cities were Selma, Montgomery, and Mobile.
During the 1870’s Birmingham (named after Birmingham, England) became the commercial hub of the south. Birmingham- with it railroad crossing all over the city, flourished overnight. People who witnessed its seeming astonishing growth called it ‘magic’ and thus its nickname ‘The Magic City’ was formed.
During the 1920’s -1960’s Birmingham – hit hard by the Great Depression, started to lose it capital at an alarming rate. Birmingham barely scraped by, but added no new commercial buildings or resources until the 1960’s.
In the 1960’s Birmingham was once again put on the world stage with its racially motivated attacks, politics and attitude. Cemented in history with brutal attacks, burning churches and more horrific acts, Birmingham became the nation’s hot bed of race tensions and the civil rights movement. With the passing of Federal laws (enforced by the President) Birmingham slowly began the process of moving past its shallow racial intolerance.
Residents and Housing
Birmingham is still considered small by national standards – with only a population of 225,000 people within the city limits. Birmingham’s racial makeup is currently 74 % African American, 24% White and around 2 % of Hispanic and other races.
Per individual the income resides around $26,735.00 and per family $31,851.00. The median incomes are below the national averages and for families of 4 or more close to the poverty line.
The MSA (or Metro Statiscal Area) counting Birmingham and its surrounding suburbs, place the population around 1.1 million with and average income over $39,000.00.
The largest municipal art museum in the southeast – The Birmingham Museum of Art will captivate any art lovers heart with its eclectic art housings. The Birmingham Museum of Art does not limit its showcasing offering over 25,000 paintings, sculptures and more of arts representing cultures all over the world.
The Civil Rights Museum offers a walkthrough of the movement in a quality and beautiful complex. The emotional and powerful films, TV and news clippings, audio and photos can easily move even the most hard at heart.
Birmingham’s newest addition is the McWane Science Center – a science museum with hands on exhibits and IMAX dome theater. With everything from fossil specimens, to educational films, the McWane Center is a must for families and individuals coming to Birmingham.
Birmingham is a unique city facing its challenges head on. From award winning universities, shopping, food and more, there is definitely something for everyone here. Birmingham’s spirit of moving forward from its turbulent pass sends the message of both tolerance and education. Whether you’re just stopping by, or coming to visit exploring Birmingham will leave you with a sense of pure enjoyment, education, and awareness.