50 Years Forward
50 Years Forward is the theme of the City of Birmingham's year-long program of events during 2013 recognizing the semi-centennial anniversary of the 1963 Birmingham Campaign and the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church.
Planning and funding for official events was originally to have been coordinated by a non-profit foundation called Birmingham63, Inc.. That group dissolved before taking any notable action, and Mayor William Bell's office proposed to the Birmingham City Council that funding requests from existing organizations be handled through the city.
- January 1: Official event launch, bell-ringing and dedication of the Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail
- January 5: Diocesan Prayer Breakfast, Catholic Diocese of Birmingham
- January 5: NAACP Emancipation Commemoration at Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church
- January 12: MLK Unity Walk, Railroad Park
- January 15: Birmingham Pledge Foundation National Issues Forum
- January 17: Release of NAACP's When We Walk commemorative calendar.
- January 18: "This is Our Story" music and spoken word program at St Joseph Baptist Church
- January 19: Citywide Youth Program and activities at Shiloh Baptist Church. SCLC gun buy-back at St Joseph Baptist
- January 20: Cultural Arts Presentation at Hopewell Baptist Church
- January 21 (Martin Luther King, Jr Day): March from Birmingham City Hall to Kelly Ingram Park and Civil Rights Rally at 16th Street Baptist Church
- January 24–26: SCLC Leadership Conference
- January 27: NAACP salute to Civil Rights Mass Churches, 16th Street Baptist
- February 1: National Business League Women of Vision Luncheon
- February 15: Public lecture by rapper/actor Common (Lonnie Lynn, Jr) at Bartow Arena
- March 30: Activist Angela Davis addressed the Birmingham NAACP at 6th Avenue Baptist Church.
- April 24: Marti Turnipseed commemorative march from Birmingham-Southern College to Kelly Ingram Park.
- May 2-10: Children's Crusade anniversary:
- May 9: "Foot Soldier International" awards
- September 11-September 15: Empowerment Week
- September 15: Staged reading of Christina M. Ham's poem "FOUR LITTLE GIRLS: Birmingham 1963" as part of Project1Voice
- September 19: Eric Essix performing "Evolution" at the Alys Stephens Center.
- September 21: Premiere of Yotam Haber's "A More Convenient Season" by the Alabama Symphony Orchestra at the Alys Stephens Center
For an up to date listing of events related to 50 Years Forward that includes directions, time, and ticket information, visit this site.
- Williams, Roy L. (August 15, 2011) "Birmingham mayor William Bell plans major nod to city's civil rights history." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (October 17, 2012) "Birmingham council members question civil rights anniversary plans and motives." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (October 19, 2012) "Birmingham civil rights anniversary funding foundation dissolved, mayor seeks $250,000 in city cash." The Birmingham News
- Bryant, Joseph D. (December 31, 2012) "Banners going up around Birmingham for 1963 commemoration year." The Birmingham News