Gregory Hood, Henry Wolff, and Paul Kersey, American Renaissance, March 29, 2020
This is the first in a series about the continuing disappearance of whites from American cities. Many people still pretend that The Great Replacement is a myth or a conspiracy theory, but the graphs that accompany each article in this series prove them wrong. Every city has a different story but all have seen a dramatic replacement of whites by minorities.
People used to call Birmingham, Alabama the “Magic City.” Today, it’s the Tragic City.
Massive steel plants sprang up after the Civil War, and Birmingham grew rapidly in the first half of the 1900s. In the 1960s, however, it became a key battleground in the Civil Rights movement, with Martin Luther King leading desegregation efforts. Civil rights campaigners got what they wanted: Birmingham desegregated. Today, it’s a majority-black city with poverty, bad schools, and high crime.
Although we usually associate industry with the North, Birmingham used to be the largest iron- and steel-producing area in the country. Many workers in the furnaces were black, but the city was segregated: Blacks and whites lived in different neighborhoods.
King and other civil rights organizers launched a campaign against segregation in 1963 that was a huge public-relations success. “But for Birmingham,” said President John Kennedy at a White House meeting to plan what became Civil Rights Act of 1964, “we wouldn’t be here.” Today, American schoolchildren learn about Birmingham, Eugene “Bull” Connor, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s campaign in 1963. They don’t learn what happened afterwards.
Between 1960 and 2000, the city’s population dropped by 38 percent; the decline has just started to level off. In 1971, a federal judge ordered integration for Jefferson county’s schools. Many whites seceded from the county and established their own school districts. They are now some of the best in the country. In contrast, just one in five students in Birmingham City Schools are proficient in reading or math. Most qualify for free or cut-price lunches. Fewer than 2 percent are white.
The city has almost collapsed. The famous Birmingham Sloss Furnace, which had been making steel since 1882, closed in 1970 and is now a historic landmark. In 2011, Jefferson County declared bankruptcy. The poverty rate is more than 27 percent, greater than the state’s already high poverty rate of 17 percent. The city government, now dominated by blacks, is notoriously corrupt. A recent report said Birmingham is the third most dangerous city in the country. Another report said it was the second most dangerous. The mostly white Birmingham suburbs are some of the safest in the country.
Every Birmingham mayor since 1979 has been black — but they still promise improvement. In 2017, then-mayor William Bell said that Birmingham would “break” poverty like it did segregation.” Yet Mayor Bell’s talk of a “true renaissance for the first time in a generation” would have required gentrification, which many blacks don’t want. At a rowdy public meeting in March 2016, residents called Mayor Bell a “puppet” of whites and — astonishingly — claimed that “white supremacists run Birmingham.”
The current mayor, Randall Woodfin, defeated Mayor Bell in 2017 with socialist support. He openly admires Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, who is the son of a black nationalist. The Nation suggested Mayor Lumumba could be the most “radical” mayor in the country. Mayor Woodfin also wants to tear down a Confederate monument. Still, by Birmingham standards, he’s a moderate. He denounced a black pastor who put up a sign calling on blacks to stay out of “white churches.” He also praised President Trump’s “Opportunity Zones” initiative.
Birmingham used to be one of America’s most important cities. Today, it’s a depressing reminder of what is left after desegregation. Now it stands for high crime, high poverty, and low test scores. Mayor Randall Woodfin wants to “revitalize” Birmingham with “the Woodfin Way,” but the Magic City may never recover its lost glory unless it recovers its white majority.