Titusville

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Titusville (pronounced /ˈtɪdəsvl/), formerly called South Elyton, is one of 23 "Communities" in Birmingham's "Community Participation Program" that was drawn up to encourage local political activism and community development. The community is bounded by Elmwood Cemetery on the West, by the Norfolk Southern Railroad to the North (paralleled by Powell Avenue), and by the CSX Transportation Railway to the South and East (paralleled by I-65).

The neighborhoods that make up the Titusville community are North Titusville and South Titusville, (to either side of 6th Avenue South) and Woodland Park (south of Green Springs Avenue). Community officers are John C. Harris, President, Julius Matthews Jr, Vice President, and Mamie A. Jordan, Secretary. Meetings are held at the Titusville Branch Library.

History

Historically, Titusville has been a close-knit community, centered on 6th Avenue South and made up, during the early and mid-20th century, of prominent middle-class African American families, including architect Wallace Rayfield and minister John Wesley Rice, Jr, the father of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

During the Jim Crow era, neighborhood leaders formed the South Elyton Civic League to lobby for neighborhood improvements and to foster greater status for African-American voters in the city. The group raised funds and helped secure public investment in Memorial Park and the Memorial Park Community Center in the heart of the community. The Titusville Branch Library was established in 1957 at the Southside Branch Library.

Since 1984 members of the community have observed an annual Titusville Community Reunion and Festival at Memorial Park. A group of families that migrated to Detroit, Michigan celebrate "Titusville Day" in that city, as well.

In June 1993 Titusville residents took the Birmingham city government to court in an attempt to block completion by Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) of a garbage transfer station in their community. This action succeeded in halting the project and was widely celebrated as a grass-roots victory over "environmental racism."

In 2005 the city and county governments agreed to jointly purchase the former Trinity Steel Industries property in Titusville for redevelopment.

Between 2000 and 2010 Titusville saw a nearly 30% drop in population along with an increase in vacant and abandoned properties. The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham partnered with the city to develop a Titusville Community Framework Plan, adopted in February 2015.

References

  • "Birmingham, Jeffco to buy Trinity plant property," Birmingham News, September 27, 2005.
  • Rel: City of Birmingham v. Horn, Supreme Court of Alabama, Special Term, 2001
  • Martin, Wayne, "Titusville 'family' reunion draws people from near, far." Birmingham News, July 9, 2006.
  • Not in Anyone's Backyard! The Grassroots Victory over Browning-Ferris Industries, video, 26 min. (Greenpeace, 1994).
  • Westra, Laura, "The Faces of Environmental Racism: Titusville, Alabama, and BFI," in Faces of Environmental Racism: Confronting Issues of Global Justice, 2d ed., ed. Laura Westra and Bill E. Lawson (Lanham, Md., 2001) ISBN 0742512487

External links