Posted on April 12, 2013

The Tragic City: Birmingham 1963-2013

Paul Kersey, SBPDL, April 12, 2013

The story of Birmingham, Alabama, the tumultuous year of 1963, and the battle for civil rights helped convince a nation–an entire civilization–to throw open the doors to the halls of freedom and welcome everyone in.

Bull Connor, Jim Crow, water hoses, and fierce German Shepherds were the perfect villains, with black people–merely marching and fighting for equality before the law–cast as the perfect heroes.

Images broadcast to the nation from Birmingham and the promotion of Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” helped convince legislators in Congress to pass Civil Rights legislation in 1964. As one lawmaker said as they signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “But for Birmingham, we wouldn’t be here.”

But in most narratives about “The Magic City,” history stops in 1963. Nothing post-1963 out of Birmingham is discussed in polite society.

Until now.

Paul Kersey, the author of Escape from Detroit and Black Mecca Down now brings to you the definitive account of life in Birmingham, Alabama after the cameras left in 1963.

A now 74 percent black city with a city government completely dominated by black public employees and a shrinking tax base incapable of providing revenue to maintain the city, Birmingham is a city in financial and moral ruin.

Crime rates consistently place Birmingham in “Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in America,” with A&E’s real-life detective show ‘The First 48″ finding fertile ground for filming in the former Magic City. The more apt name for Birmingham post-1963 is the “Tragic City.”

John Derbyshire writes of Paul Kersey’s work, “The very best of the in-your-face race realists, wide-ranging and well-researched. What journalism schools should produce: though if one ever did produce an SBPDL, the faculty would commit collective seppuku in a public square.”