U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) Monday introduced a bill that would designate Birmingham’s Civil Rights District as a new National Historic Park.
The Civil Rights District, designated by the city in 1992, covers a six-block area of downtown Birmingham where several significant events in the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s took place.
“I am proud to introduce this important, bipartisan legislation that incorporates Birmingham’s Historic Civil Rights sites into the National Park Service System,” Sewell stated. “With this designation, historic preservation efforts will be enhanced for these historic sites, greater economic revitalization will occur, and it will forever cement the pivotal role Birmingham played in the Civil Rights Movement.”
Ranging from Sixth to Second Avenue North, and from 15th to 19th Street in the heart of downtown Birmingham, the district includes the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park, 16th Street Baptist Church, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and the Fourth Avenue Business District.
Sewell said, “The Historic Civil Rights District in Birmingham holds many stories of the journey from what was regarded as one of the most segregated cities in the South to what Birmingham is today. The National Park designation will be a real tourism boost for Birmingham and will mean greater economic development for Alabama. The Birmingham Civil Rights District will include the 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelley Ingram Park, A.G. Gaston Motel and other historic landmarks.”