The Birmingham Historical Society’s newest book has 13 first-hand accounts of what it was like to grow up on Dynamite Hill, the neighborhood that was repeatedly bombed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Barbara Shores, the daughter of civil rights activist and attorney Arthur Shores, along with Marjorie White, director of BHS, bring those stories to life with childhood memories, photos, and historical background.
You’re invited to attend an autograph party of our newest publication, Birmingham’s Dynamite Hill, with speakers who grew up on the hill in the 1950s and 1960s. The event will be at the Tabernacle Baptist Church at 600 Center Street in the Center Street Historic District of Smithfield on December 11th, 2022, 2-4 PM. Please plan to attend!
This is the compelling story of the fight over residential segregation laws as told by the people who lived it. The multiple bombings in the ‘40’s, 50s, and 60’s of the close-knit Birmingham neighborhood, now known as Dynamite Hill, were intended to intimidate residents and discourage their families from building in designated ‘whites only’ zoned areas and attending white schools. But due to the persistence and courage primarily of resident and attorney Arthur Shores, archaic ordinances and laws were changed. In 2011, the Center Street district was added to the National Register of Historic Places, commemorating the fight for fair housing and schools.
Weaving first-hand accounts into the historical narrative, this new book personalizes the struggles and courage of the families whose homes and neighborhood were terrorized. It also tells of the accomplishments of the children of that era, their close ties, their memories, and their hope for the future. Multiple photos of historic events and homes along with personal interviews, makes this history come alive, representing as Arthur Shores’ daughter, Barbara Shores, says, ‘the best and the worst of humanity’. To purchase a copy of the book, please click HERE
Although the neighborhood has seen brighter days, its location, character, and history make it unique. It’s important to know our history and to preserve and renew Dynamite Hill so that future generations may learn of this landmark neighborhood that illustrates the best and the worst of humanity.
After vacating 37 years at the Duncan House at Sloss Quarters, we celebrated the move to our new home at the historic Altamont Apartments on Highland Avenue this afternoon. Our well-attended Open House today featured book signings of this year’s publication, Birmingham’s Dynamite Hill, signed by Barbara Shores and Jeff Hunt ((with whom Martin Luther King stayed) as well as a history hunt, book sales, membership information, historical marker guidelines by Jefferson County Historical Commission historian, Linda Nelson, and light refreshments. Thank you to all who joined us!
Guests were also invited to tour the lobby of the historic Greenbriar at Altamont next door.
This is the story of a neighborhood just west of the Birmingham city center. Known since a subdivision in 1887 as Smithfield, North Smithfield, Graymont, and East Thomas, the neighborhood’s current name honors the seminal legal battles for attainment of civil rights that unfolded here from 1946 to 1965. The 88-page book includes photographs, maps and accounts of the legal battles and civil rights fights, reflections of neighborhood leaders and participants in the struggles, as well as the stories of children, who grew up here in the 1950s and 1960s, describing their lives on the hill as they unknowingly witnessed history unfolding before them.
Publication expected mid-November at which time a celebration place and date will be announced. Stay tuned!