Tom Brown Village
Tom Brown Village is a public housing project operated by the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District located at 4165 5th Court North in the North Avondale neighborhood of the East Birmingham community, along Messer Airport Highway.
The 250-unit complex was constructed in 1961 as part of the Avondale Urban Renewal Area, along with Hayes High School and Martin Luther King Jr Park (originally Gaston Park). Harmony Street Baptist Church, located within the renewal area, was allowed to remain, although many of its members' homes were condemned as part of the project. Private developers constructed sixty-six new single-family homes in the renewal area. The complex itself was built for $2,974,000. It was named for Tom Brown.
The swimming pool constructed in 1962 at Gaston Park was the first public pool in Birmingham to be opened on an integrated basis. In the early 1970s the community was the only public housing project in the city without a fully-staffed recreation center. Instead, HABD officials provided an unleased four-room apartment, dubbed the "Village House" for youth groups to meet. A number of youth organized the "Pushers for Recreation for Avondale Youth" (PRAY) to lobby for a dedicated recreation center. The Tom Brown Village Community Center at 4252 Messer Airport Highway resulted from their efforts.
The community currently consists of 248 one- to five-bedroom apartments. It is managed by Shirley Prewitt.
- Joiner, Andrea (May 30, 1973) "Avondale recreation center is sought" Birmingham Post-Herald - via Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections