Community Affairs Committee

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First meeting of the Community Affairs Committee, July 16, 1963

Birmingham's Community Affairs Committee of the City of Birmingham (CAC) was formed on July 16, 1963 and charged with supporting the newly-formed Birmingham City Council's efforts to engage the wider community of interested citizens in improving the city. To that end, Mayor Albert Boutwell's office printed booklets, entitled "Citizens in Action", outlining vital problem areas for which subcommittees would be formed to engage in planning and implementation.

Among the group's major challenges was improving race relations in the city as part of the negotiated truce which ended the Birmingham Campaign of the previous spring. Mayor Boutwell expressed optimism that the committee would help realize "a dream of an attack on our own problems by our own people, in search of a greater future for all," and added that, "it could be the beginning of our finest hour."

A group of protesters, carrying signs adorned with Confederate battle flags, claimed that Birmingham had been "betrayed, not beaten" by integrationists, and called for the public to support Governor George Wallace and to "Fight for Segregation."

Southern Bell vice-president Frank Newton was the committee's first chair. Don Hawkins chaired the Council committee which coordinated with the group.

The Community Affairs Committee was later merged into Operation New Birmingham.

As initially formed, the committee consisted of 212 members, of whom 23 were African-American.

Charter members