1971 was the 100th year after the founding of the city of Birmingham.
- January 14: The Birmingham Parks & Recreation Board commissioned Felton Collier and Caroll Harmon to produce a Master Plan for the Birmingham Zoo.
- February 3: Students briefly took over the auditorium and principal's office at Phillips High School to demand more student assemblies and fewer hall marshals.
- March 31: 14-year-old John Matthews attempted to hijack a Delta Airlines flight from Birmingham Airport.
- May 25: President Richard Nixon gave a briefing on domestic policy at the Parliament House hotel.
- July 25: A major explosion took place on Ruffner Mountain.
- August 27: A runaway truck collided with a car carrying five Vestavia Hills High School coaches. Phillip Puccio, Thomas Ward and Robert Ray were killed. Thompson Reynolds and Sam Short were injured.
- October 13: Collier and Harmon presented their preliminary Master Plan for the Birmingham Zoo.
- October: 1971 Alabama State Fair
- November 15: Judge Sam Pointer signed an injunction against twenty-three major polluters, resulting in a two-day shut-down.
- December 18: Birmingham's Centennial celebration began with a massive fireworks show on Red Mountain.
- Westfield High School closed as its students were bused to formerly all-white school districts.
- The "One Great City" campaign died in a committee of the Alabama State Legislature.
- Birmingham City Council: Don Hawkins and Russell Yarbrough were re-elected to four-year terms. They were joined by Richard Arrington, Jr, David Vann, and Angi Proctor. Proctor took the two-year seat. Hawkins took over as City Council President.
- George Seibels re-elected Mayor of Birmingham
- Alabama School of Fine Arts was approved by the state legislature
- Jefferson County Historical Society was created by the state legislature
- The town of Siluria voted to merge with Alabaster.
- Red Mountain Museum established
- U. S. Pipe closed Sloss Furnaces and donated it to the City of Birmingham
- The law firm of McMillan and Spratling was founded.
- Avondale Mills closed its Birmingham plant.
- Nabeel Shunnarah founded Nabeel's Café and Market in Homewood.
- Thomas Furnaces was shuttered.
- Cinema Blue opened in the former College Theatre location on 1st Avenue North in East Lake.
See also 1971 Birmingham Athletics
- If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance, Angela Davis
- Love in the Ruins: The Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World, Walker Percy
- Insect Societies, E. O. Wilson
- Portrait of Birmingham, Donald Brown
- Barber's Dairy ice cream plant
- Birmingham Botanical Gardens Garden Center
- Birmingham Fire Station No. 1
- Guaranty Savings and Loan main office expanded to the east
- South Central Bell Building
- Vulcan recieved a $1M facelift
- October 19: Lister Hill Library dedicated
- George Ward's Vestavia demolished
- West Oxmoor Tower at Barber Court and West Oxmoor Road
- A huge electronic sign was installed on roof of the Bank for Savings Building.
- Bottenfield Junior High School
- Zeigler Medical Research Building dedicated.
- Red White and Blue, directed by David F. Friedman
- Sun Ra performed at the ancient Egyptian pyramids
- Bill Elder was named chair of the Bible department at Memphis University School.
- Paul Hardin was elected president of the United Methodist Church's Council of Bishops
- William Hoole retired as director of the University of Alabama Library.
- February 5: Sara Evans, country singer
- February 17: Lashunda Scales, marketing consultant
- February 26: Irene Latham, author
- April 3: Picabo Street, downhill skier
- April 22: Victor McCay, artist and actor
- June 5: Vero Vanblaere, Naked Art gallery owner
- June 24: Perry Young, former BPD officer and criminal
- August 10: Tony Barbee, basketball coach
- August 14: Stan White, football player and sports commentator
- October 18: DeWayne Miner, runner and educator
- November 10: Walton Goggins, actor and film producer
- November 13: Darrin Hancock, basketball player
- December 18: James F. Sulzby IV, realtor
- Jocelyn Ayanna, attorney and actress
- Bernard Buggs, firefighter and R&B singer
- Merrilee Challiss, artist and bar owner
- Sophia Choi, television news anchor
- Jerome Daniels, murdered police officer
- Dedrick Griham, murderer
- Wade Kwon, journalist
- Avraham Schmidman, rabbi
- Nikki Still, Circuit Court judge
- Bob Bales earned his Ph.D. in business administration at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California.
- Baseball player Jerry Hairston graduated from Gardendale High School.
- Bernard Kincaid earned an M. A. from Miami University in Ohio.
- Attorney Jim Porter from the University of Alabama
- Pro football tackle Billy Shields graduated from Banks High School.
- Phyllis Wyne graduated from Jarvis Christian College in Texas.
- Clettus Atkinson was awarded the Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing
- William Chapman, Red Drew, Howard Hill, Dixie Howell, Tackhole Lee, Sanders Russell, Jackson Stephenson, and Charles Streit were inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
- Hubert Green was named the PGA Tour's "Rookie of the Year"
- Satchel Paige was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame
- Auburn Tigers quarterback Pat Sullivan was awarded the Heisman Trophy
- Hill Ferguson, civic leader
- Hugh A. Locke, judge
- May 18: Louis Buck, radio announcer
- August 27: Vestavia Hills High School coaches Thomas Ward, Cooper Ray and Phil Puccio were killed in a collision with a runaway truck on Montgomery Highway.
- August 29: Emma Gelders Sterne, author and activist
- September 24: George Huddleston, Jr, U.S. Representative
- September 25: Hugo Black, Supreme Court justice
- September: Jimmy Morgan, former President of the Birmingham City Commission
- November 6: Eugene Knight, architect
- See also: List of Birmingham homicides in 1971
In 1971, All in the Family debuted on CBS. The Apollo program of lunar landings continued with Apollo 14 and Apollo 15. NASDAQ debuted as a new stock exchange. The Vietnam War continued as did protests against it. The United Kingdom and Ireland both switched to decimal currency. Evel Knievel set a world record by jumping 19 cars. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously that busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation. Amtrak began inter-city rail passenger service in the United States. The U.S. ended its trade embargo of China. The 26th Amendment to the United States Constitution, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, was formally certified by President Richard Nixon. The Attica Prison riots took place. Walt Disney World opened in Florida. Mariner 9 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit another planet (Mars). Intel produced the first microprocessor.
In sports in 1971, the Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16–13 at Super Bowl V in Miami, Florida. Boxer Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali at Madison Square Garden. The Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA World Championship by sweeping the Baltimore Bullets in four straight games.
Notable births in 1971 included Kid Rock, Denise Richards, Emmanuel Lewis, Ewan McGregor, David Tennant, Matt Stone, Noah Wyle, Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Warner, Kristi Yamaguchi, Corey Feldman, Cory Doctorow, Jeff Gordon, Lance Armstrong, Tiffany, Snoop Dogg, Winona Ryder, Christina Applegate, Corey Haim, and Ricky Martin. Notable deaths included Coco Chanel, Harold Lloyd, Philo T. Farnsworth, Igor Stravinsky, Ogden Nash, Jim Morrison, Louis Armstrong, and Cliff Edwards.
The top-grossing films of 1971 were Fiddler on the Roof, The French Connection, Summer of '42, Diamonds Are Forever, and Dirty Harry. The French Connection also took Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Top pop hits included John Lennon's "Imagine", George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord", Rod Stewart's "Maggie May", and The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar".
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