McAlpine Park

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First Lady Michelle Obama talks with children attending Camp Noah as they make trail mix at the McAlpine Park Recreation Center in Birmingham, Ala., July 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

William L. McAlpine Park (formerly William L. McAlpine Colored Park) is a city park at 1115 Avenue F, on the bank of Village Creek in Ensley. It was named in honor of Alabama State Federation of Civic Leagues leader William McAlpine, whose organization sponsored beautification projects in African-American neighborhoods.

Originally the Park Board planned to honor McAlpine by renaming Tuxedo Park, but public protests against changing the park's association with the Erskine Hawkins' jazz standard "Tuxedo Junction" convinced them to select another park.

Under Birmingham's segregation ordinances, the park was originally open only to African American residents. It was closed by the Birmingham City Commission in 1963 in order to avoid integration and reopened in 1964 when those ordinances were repealed by the newly-elected Birmingham City Council.

McAlpine Park has a baseball diamond, walking path, playground, swimming pool and four tennis courts, as well as the McAlpine Park Recreation Center. The park originally adjoined Western High School. The school, later known as P. D. Jackson-Olin High School, moved to a new campus across Avenue F in 2006.

In July 2012 First Lady Michelle Obama visited children attending Camp Noah at the park's recreation center, helping them make trail mix.

References

  • "Tuxedo Park Keeps Name" (August 12, 1944) The Afro-American.