50 Years Forward Commemorative Events

50 Years Forward

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Fifty Years Forward

City of Birmingham Fifty Years Forward

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Marching On: The Children's Movement at Fifty

March 12 - November 30, 2013

Drawing from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Oral History Project collection and other archival sources, this exhibit will tell the story of the seminal event of the Birmingham Movement - The Children’s Crusade - through the words of the “foot soldiers,” the young people of Birmingham in 1963, who made it happen.

The Birmingham Museum of Art

The Birmingham Museum of Art is presenting Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward Related Events which will feature many events and exhibits beginning in August and continuing through the end of the year. For a complete listing of all that will be offered, visit the museum's website.

Eric Essix "evolution" a Musical Journey Toward Hope

The commemoration of the historic civil rights events of 1963 has drawn major attention to Alabama this year. One musical project related to 1963 is by noted Birmingham guitarist and educator Eric Essix. He spoke with WBHM’s Scott Hanley about his new CD, “evolution.”

Guitarist Eric Essix will perform selections from the new recording in a special concert in Birmingham at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, joined by Atlanta’s “5 Men on a Stool” and vocalist Tracy Hamlin – Thursday, September 19, 2013.

Empowerment Week

Sept. 12-15, 2013

View all of the events scheduled for Empowerment Week.

Evolution: Eric Essix Debuts Selections from His Musical Diary of Birmingham’s Progress

Sept. 19, 2013, 7 p.m.

Birmingham native and Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame Inductee Eric Essix will perform songs from “Evolution” at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center. The artist’s landmark 20th recording is a musical diary that examines the progress of Birmingham over the past 50 years and into the future. A guitarist with intimate personal, family, and community connections to the subject matter, Essix has produced and recorded songs that have a direct connection to the Civil Rights Movement for more than a decade.

A More Convenient Season: World Premiere of a New Work of Hope & Healing by Composer Yotam Haber

Sept. 21, 2013, 8 p.m.

UAB’s Alys Stephens Center and philanthropist Tom Blount have commissioned internationally-known composer Yotam Haber to create this world premiere, calling on the healing power of the arts to commemorate an event that became a turning point for the entire world—the horrific bombing of The 16th Street Baptist Church Sunday, September 15, 1963 at 10:22 a.m. The historic composition draws its title from the text of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

". . . who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a ‘more convenient season.’ "

The program will feature the Alabama Symphony Orchestra led by guest conductor Damon Gupton and the 16th Street Baptist Church Choir combined with children from across Birmingham led by guest choral director the Rev. Kevin Turner. It will incorporate historical sound recordings from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Oral History Project and will be digitally mastered by Philip White. Born in Holland, Haber grew up in Israel, Nigeria, and Milwaukee and completed a doctorate in composition at Cornell University. He is a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2007 Rome Prize Recipient. This will not be Haber’s first venture in composing works that explore issues of human rights and hope, as he has previously created three works that explore the culture and history of the Jewish Diaspora in Italy. Following its world debut at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center, a cultural center that unites UAB and the Birmingham community, “A More Convenient Season” will premiere on the West Coast with the Cal Arts Orchestra at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theatre (REDCAT).

The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963

October 19, 2013

Birmingham Children’s Theatre presents the Birmingham premiere of Christopher Paul Curtis’The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963, adapted by Reginald André Jackson, as its youth-centered contribution to the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of Birmingham’s impact on Civil Rights in 1963.

The play, based upon a hilarious and deeply moving story and characters depicted in the novel of the same title, chronicles a lengthy stay in Birmingham, Alabama, by the Watson family of Flint, Michigan, which coincided with a moment in world history: the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Mr. Curtis' novel was both a Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and a New York Times Review Best Book.

Birmingham Children’s Theatre will present the production October 7 to October 19, 2013, in the theatre at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, BCT’s resident home stage. The play is recommended for third to eighth grade students and their families. Complimentary study guides and community-based educational activities will be offered to support the production.