1940, a leap year, was the 69th year after the founding of the city of Birmingham.
- January 21: John A. Carroll was invested into the Order of St Gregory by Pope Pius XII.
- January 23: A rare snowfall brought 9.5 inches to Birmingham.
- January 31: The feature film "Gone With The Wind" had its Birmingham premiere at the Ritz Theatre.
- February 29: Cooper Green was elected President of the Birmingham City Commission.
- Harry E. Smith resigned as Jefferson County Sheriff to enter the Army.
- Joe Shannon made his first solo flight in his J-3 Piper Cub.
- The Brother Bryan Mission was founded.
- Communist Party secretary Robert Hall's apartment at Quinlan Castle was raided by the Birmingham Police Department.
- The Birmingham Art Association began raising funds for a future Birmingham Museum of Art.
- William and Eugenia Woodward Hitt were married.
- The 106th Observation Squadron was called to active duty.
- Lighting was installed along the Bessemer Super Highway, creating the longest "white way" east of the Rockies.
- A fire damaged remaining nightclub fixtures in Bangor Cave.
- The League of Young Southerners moved its executive offices from Nashville, Tennessee to Birmingham.
- September 17: President Franklin Roosevelt attended the funeral of William Bankhead at Jasper First United Methodist Church.
- October: 1940 Alabama State Fair
- January 25: The first edition of the Southern News Almanac was published.
- Eloise Haney Smith took over full ownership of WBRC-AM.
- CBS took over 45% ownership of WAPI-AM
- The Tennessee Valley Authority took over the northern district of Alabama Power's service area.
- A. & A. Ash Jewelers moved to 201 20th Street North.
- October 4: The Stirrup Cup lounge at the Thomas Jefferson Hotel opened.
- Gus Constantine opened Dr Gus Coffee House on 21st Street North.
- F. R. Hoar founded Hoar Construction.
- Ross McBride and Jimmy Daniel founded the McBride Sign Co.
- October 14: Boxer Izzy Jannazzo won a welterweight title over Cocoa Kid at Carlin’s Park in Baltimore, Maryland.
- Magic City Classic, Alabama State: 24-6
- Bear Bryant became an assistant coach at Vanderbilt University.
- The Alta Apartments opened in downtown Tuscaloosa.
- The American Trust Building became the headquarters of First National Bank of Birmingham
- Canaan Missionary Baptist Church was renovated and clad in brick.
- Hueytown High School's gymnasium.
- Ed Norton sold Rickwood Field to the Cincinnati Reds.
- The Albert B. Stapp Company Service Station expanded its building.
- The Simpson Building at Birmingham-Southern College was renovated for the Birmingham Conservatory of Music.
- "After Hours", recorded by Avery Parrish and the Erskine Hawkins Orchestra.
- Glenn Miller recorded a hit version of Erskine Hawkins' "Tuxedo Junction".
- Gail Patrick starred in My Favorite Wife.
- January 6: Hubert Joe "Poonanny" Burns, bandleader
- February 17: Wayne Greenhaw, journalist and author
- March 4: Lili Gentle, actress
- March 11: Catherine Cabaniss, artist
- March 13: Candi Staton, disco/soul/gospel singer
- March 23: Kenny Clemons, former councilman and Mayor of Gardendale
- March 25: Pat Gray, television host
- March 25: Dave Roddy, WSGN-AM announcer
- April 29: E. B. McClain, state senator
- April 30: Pat Moore, attorney
- May 1: Bill Hay, Presbyterian minister
- May 20: Shorty Long, soul singer, songwriter and producer
- June 17: Frank Fleming, sculptor
- June 29: U.S. Representative Claude Harris
- July: L. B. Feemster, businessman and Clay city councilor
- July 11: Pat Trammell, former Crimson Tide quarterback
- August 16: Philip Morris, Southern Living editor, historian and civic activist
- August 16: Paul Seitz, baseball player and bookstore owner
- September 4: Ken Tremelling, radio DJ and manager
- September 8: James Jett, Warrior City Council member
- September 10: Buck Buchanan, pro football player
- September 21: Jim Carns, Jefferson County Commission
- September: Michael Gross, educator
- September 26: Glenn Bishop, engineer
- October 14: Billy Joe, former Miles College football coach
- October 31: Fox deFuniak, banker and civic leader
- December 3: Dewey Corder, Baptist minister
- December 14: Willie Perry, "The Batman of Birmingham".
- Sam Brison, long-time Indianapolis Clowns star
- Harry Crawford, "The Flagman of Columbiana".
- C. Pat Reynolds, former Vestavia Hills mayor, restauranteur
- Jim Bennett, former Alabama Secretary of State and Labor Commissioner
- Arman Delorenz, chef and restauranteur
- Charles Ensley, labor union president
- Marshal Hagler, photographer
- Jackie McDougal, Bessemer municipal judge
- David Nix, artist
- Irvin Penfield, provost of Birmingham-Southern College
- James Potts, mortgage banker and financial advisor
- Doris Powell, Fountain Heights neighborhood president and BJCTA chair
- Petric Smith, born as Elizabeth H. Cobbs, Methodist minister, activist and author
- Patti Wheeler, radio show co-host
- January 12: Walter Smyer
- February 5: Harry Wheelock, architect
- February 8: Edward Ullman, cinematographer
- April 18: Chris Jordan, professional wrestler and wrestling promoter
- May 7: Morris Newfield, rabbi of Temple Emanu-El and social activist
- May 9: O. D. Henderson, tin mill worker
- June 10: Paul Cole, former Birmingham Police Department chief of detectives
- July 2: John Abercrombie, former University of Alabama president and state senator
- September 11: George Ward, former Mayor of Birmingham
- September 15: William Bankhead, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Willie Peterson, suspected murderer, died of tuberculosis at Kilby Prison.
- Jimmie Jones, former Mayor of Birmingham
- Raymond Rochell, owner of the Orange Crush 7-Up Bottling Company
- See also: List of Birmingham homicides in 1940
- August 1: Pat Courington Sr to Tommie Dorris Williams
- August 26: Mel and Mae Rosenberger
- October 4: Frank and Alice Bettencourt
- Oscar Adams Jr, from Parker High School
- Bert Bank, from the University of Alabama School of Law
- Charley Boswell, from the University of Alabama
- Tom King, from Phillips High School
- George M. Murray, business degree from the University of Alabama
- Fred Shuttlesworth, from Rosedale High School
- Margaret Walker, Master of Arts in Education from Iowa University
- John Godbold from Auburn University
In 1940, the world was on the brink of full-scale world war. The war had been raging in Europe for two years. America was mobilizing. Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented third term as president. In the summer of 1940, Hitler dominated Europe from the North Cape to the Pyrenees. His one remaining active enemy; Britain, under a new prime minister, Winston Churchill; vowed to continue fighting. Italy declared war on France and Britain on June 10. On June 17, Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain, a World War I hero who had become premier the day before, asked for an armistice. The armistice was signed on June 25 on terms that gave Germany control of northern France and the Atlantic coast.
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck won the Pulitzer Prize for novels
- The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan won the Pulitzer for drama
- Abraham Lincoln: The War Years by Carl Sandburg won the Pulitzer for history
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