1921 was the 50th year after the founding of the city of Birmingham.
- Semicentennial of Birmingham was held, primarily between October 24 and 29 at Capitol Park.
- May 21: The 1921 National Balloon Race launched.
- 1921 Fashion-Industrial Exposition was held at Capitol Park.
- 1921 Birmingham Automobile Show was held near the park.
- October 24, 26 and 27: The "Pageant of Birmingham" was staged at Avondale Park.
- October 25: 1921 throwback game at Rickwood Field
- October 26: President Warren Harding visited Birmingham.
- April 15: 1921 West End tornado
- April 29: Birmingham Music Festival was held at the Jefferson Theater.
- Floodwaters on Crooked Creek damaged the Clarkson Bridge.
- A series of attacks attributed to an "Axe syndicate" continued to plague small shopkeepers.
- Parrish was incorporated.
- The property for Altamont Park was purchased by the City of Birmingham.
- The Birmingham Railway & Electric Company began operating Birmingham's first motor coaches.
- Wilsonville Lodge No. 510 was founded.
- Shades Valley Lodge No. 829 was chartered.
- The Alabama High School Athletic Association was founded.
- The Women's Missionary Union relocated its offices to Birmingham from Baltimore, Maryland.
- Elyton Baptist Church was organized.
- West End Hills Missionary Baptist Church was organized.
- The Birmingham Press Club was reorganized.
- Fess Whatley's "Jazz Demons" began performing.
- The Birmingham Railway, Light and Power Company reorganized as the Birmingham Electric Company.
- Edmund Leach opened a Sterne Agee office in Montgomery.
- U.S. Pipe switched its casting to the DeLavaud process.
- The Alabama Coal Operators Association was reorganized as the Alabama Mining Institute.
- Ore mining resumed at Valley View Mine.
- January: The Birmingham Post was launched by Ed Leech and Scripps-Howard.
- April 24: WSY-AM began broadcasting from a studio at 1921 Powell Avenue.
- The Champion Theatre opened on 18th Street North.
- The Five Points Theatre opened on 11th Avenue South
- The Frolic Theatre opened on 4th Avenue North.
- The Gay Theater opened on 4th Avenue North.
- George Barber founded Barber's Dairy.
- William Hoover founded the Employers Mutual Insurance Company.
- Norton's Florist opened.
- Dixie Store Fixtures was founded.
- E. E. Essig founded the Banner Baking Co.
- Mabe Power Equipment opened.
- The Jefferson County Truck Growers Association was founded.
- E. L. Higdon founded the E. L. Higdon Concrete Company.
- Kirkman O'Neal founded Southern Steel Works.
- Contractor Thomas Brasfield founded the Thomas C. Brasfield Company.
- James McWane left the American Cast Iron Pipe Company to found McWane Inc.
- A. N. and S. M. Chappell founded ANCCO, a maker of food products which soon became Bama Company.
- Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Company shut down its coal mine at Brookside following the 1920 UMWA strike.
- The Fairgrounds Race Track closed.
- November 7: David McLendon succeeded Nathaniel Barrett as Mayor of Birmingham. He was joined on the incoming Birmingham City Commission by William Cloe, William Dickson, Mary Echols and William Harrison.
- The Bessemer Stars were organized to play in the Negro Southern League.
- The Alabama Centennial half dollar was produced by the U.S. Mint.
- The Book of Birmingham by John Hornady
- William Denham was awarded US patent no. 1,366,067 for an "aeroplane" with two horizontally-mounted propellers.
- Morris Benson residence on 17th Street South
- Georges & Eleanor Bridges residence in Edgewood
- First United Methodist Church administration building
- Five Points Theatre
- Holt High School in Tuscaloosa
- Hueytown High School
- Jasper First United Methodist Church
- Jones Valley High School in Powderly
- Locust Fork School
- Long-Lewis Ford showroom
- Model Poultry Farm at Avondale Park
- Norwood Methodist Church
- Pinson School
- Preston Motors Plant No. 2 in North Birmingham
- Robinson Elementary School addition
- Thompson High School
- United States Post Office and Federal Courthouse on 5th Avenue North
- Walker Memorial United Methodist Church in Elyton
- Wilsonville Lodge No. 510
- Guy Snavely succeeded Cullen Daniel as President of Birmingham-Southern College.
- John Dawson succeeded Charles Williams as President of Howard College.
- Charles Glenn succeeded John Phillips as Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools.
- Clarence Going succeeded Charles Brown as principal of Birmingham's Central High School.
- Mr Gordon succeeded Mennie Halliman as principal of Mortimer Jordan High School.
- Fred McDuff succeeded Thomas Shirley as chief of the Birmingham Police Department.
- Brother Bryan was awarded the first "Birmingham News Loving Cup".
- Lemuel Dawson was elected president of the Alabama Baptist Convention.
- A. J. Hawkins succeeded J. D. Webb as Birmingham's city engineer.
- Charles Fisher began his second tenure as pastor of 16th Street Baptist Church.
- Earline Driver succeeded Reginald Gaines as director of the Booker T. Washington Library.
- January 1: Royce Lint, Major League baseball player
- January 6: Gladys Gillem, professional wrestler
- January 11: Jim Beckham, Alabama Power Company executive
- January 27: Marvin Engel, insurance and real estate executive
- January 29: Frank Samford Jr, president of Liberty National Life Insurance Company
- February 10: Big Joe Duskin, blues and boogie-woogie pianist
- February 25: Buck Falkner, Eagle Department Store owner and Mayor of Columbiana
- March 10: James Atkins, Major League baseball player
- March 30: Joe Simpson, attorney
- April 10: Maxine Sykes, cofounder of Bob Sykes Bar-B-Q
- May 11: Joe Shannon, military and commercial pilot
- June 1: Caldwell Marks, cofounder of Motion Industries
- June 5: Mae Rosenberger, CEO of Rosenberger's Birmingham Trunk
- June 11: George Gulyanics, professional football player
- June 14: Eric Embry, Alabama Supreme Court justice
- June 19: Howell Heflin, U.S. Senator
- July 3: Roland Frye, theologian and literary scholar
- July 4: Frank Wagner, director of the Birmingham Parks & Recreation Board
- July 13: Frank Moore Cross, Presbyterian pastor and religious scholar
- July 19: John Harbert III, construction magnate
- August 5: Mary Helen Foster, military pilot and librarian
- August 9: James Hatcher, theater director and performer
- August 12: Elliott Dent, fighter pilot and advertising executive
- August 16: Frances Moore, lifelong Bromberg's employee
- August 18: Alexander Lacy, attorney and Alagasco executive
- August 21: Julius Ellsberry, US Navy seaman
- September 7: Virginia Van der Veer Hamilton, journalist, educator and historian
- September 13: Nimrod Long II, construction supplier
- September 27: John Patterson, Governor of Alabama
- October 3: Shorty Price, attorney
- October 6: Joseph Lowery, Methodist minister and Civil Rights leader
- October 7: Vaughn Mancha, Florida State University athletic director
- October 26: Paul Bailey, geneticist and Mayor of Baileyton
- October 26: Frederick Brown Jr, federal official and Mayor of Peachtree City, Georgia
- November 2: Sam Mitchell, Samford University English professor
- November 15: Virginia Pitts Rembert Liles, art professor and administrator
- November 20: Charles Kleibacker, fashion designer and curator
- November 26: Jon Crow, Presbyterian pastor and missionary
- December 5: Harold Wilson, U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer and Medal of Honor recipient
- December 7: Caroline P. Ireland, philanthropist
- December 16: Frank Evans, Negro Leagues baseball player
- Robert Adams, Birmingham News photographer
- Norman Albright, attorney and founder of Albright Business College
- Del Chambordon, bookkeeper and "Twinkles the elf" portrayer
- Joseph "JoBo" Country, Mayor of Cardiff
- Alexander Jefferson, Tuskegee airman
- Rosemary Morse, bookkeeper and trustee of Hargis Retreat
- Emmet O'Neal II, chairman of O'Neal Steel
- Virginia Simpson, socialite
- Arthur Stewart, portrait painter
- Ian Sturrock, RAF fighter pilot and bagpiper
- H. B. Thompson, Gardendale Youth Baseball founder
- Thomas Tolbert, Bessemer City Council member
- Evan Zeiger Sr, Samford University athletic director
- William Rushton Jr earned his bachelor's degree at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
- February 23: Hugo Black married Josephine Foster.
- May 11: Asa Rountree Jr married Cherokee Jemison Van de Graaff
- February 17: Elyton Land Company engineer Willis Milner died.
- February 23: Legislator, judge and Birmingham Barons owner John McQueen died.
- May 10: Rail car coupler inventor Andrew Beard died at the Jefferson County Alms House.
- June 6: Former Lieutenant Governor of Alabama Russell Cunningham died in Birmingham.
- July 21: Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools John Phillips died.
- August 11: Father James Coyle was murdered at the rectory adjoining St Paul's Catholic Church.
- December 22: Judge Oscar Hundley died after a long illness.
- December 30: Former Avondale mayor William Starbuck died.
- December 31: Five miners died in the 1921 Docena Mine explosion.
- Bookseller John B. Roden died.
In 1921 Swedish women gained the right to vote. Bolshevist forces invaded the Democratic Republic of Georgia. Warren Harding was inaugurated as President of the United States. The Emirate of Transjordan was founded. The Irish Free State gained independence and Northern Ireland was carved out as a province of the United Kingdom. Norway experienced a general strike. Sacco and Vanzetti were convicted of murder in Massachusetts. Communist Parties were chartered in China, Spain and Czechoslovakia. Adolf Hitler became "Führer" of Germany's Nazi party. The United States declared an end to its participation in the Great War (WWI). The first "Miss America" pageant was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The first White Castle hamburger stand opened in Kansas. KDKA-AM in Pittsburgh pioneered radio broadcasting of baseball games. Albert Einstein was awarded a Nobel Prize for physics. More than five million people starved to death during a famine in Russia.
Notable literary works of 1921 included F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned, Aldous Huxley's Crome Yellow; two books of Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, Rafael Sabatini's Scaramouche and Eugene Winter's The Byzantine Riddle and Other Stories. Notable films of 1921 included Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid," "Brewster's Millions" with Fatty Arbuckle, and "The Sheik" starring Rudolph Valentino.
The New York Giants claimed the World Series title over the New York Yankees. The Yankees' Babe Ruth set a season record with 59 home runs. Jack Dempsey knocked out Georges Carpentier in front of 80,000 fans at a farm in Jersey City. Belgian Léon Scieur won the 15th Tour de France.
People born in 1921 included actors Steve Allen, Charles Bronson, Carol Channing, Chuck Connors, Rodney Dangerfield; Alan Hale Jr, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Jane Russell, Lana Turner, Abe Vigoda ; dancer Cyd Charisse; feminist Betty Friedan; newscaster Hugh Downs; Senators Jesse Helms and John Glenn; television producer Gene Roddenberry; cartoonist Al Jaffee; author Alex Haley; Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; King Faud of Saudi Arabia; physicist Andrei Sakharov; First Lady Nancy Reagan; boxer Sugar Ray Robinson; artist Joseph Beuys; and bandleader Nelson Riddle.
1921 deaths included King Ludwig III of Bavaria; anarchist Peter Kropotkin; gunfighter Bat Masterson; naturalist John Burroughs; tenor Enrico Caruso; and composers Engelbert Humperdinck and Camille Saint-Saëns.
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