March 3, 2003
Brock Forum
6:30 pm

Who Speaks for Birmingham?

On Monday, March 3, 2003 at 6:30 p.m., the 1961 CBS Reports program, "Who Speaks for Birmingham?" will be shown in Brock Forum in Dwight Beeson Hall. In May 1961, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Howard K. Smith and producer David Lowe traveled to Alabama to report on the "background and mood of Birmingham by letting some of the people of that community speak of and for their city." An interesting cross-section of Birmingham residents, both black and white, were interviewed for the program; they included Fred Shuttlesworth, John Temple Graves, Lucias Pitts, C. C. J. Carpenter, Herbert Oliver, and several other leading citizens. Smith and Lowe also interviewed students from the three local colleges: Howard (Samford), Birmingham-Southern, and Miles. Reid Chapel was the setting for the dialogue with the Howard College Students.

Just before leaving Birmingham, Smith was the only national newsman to witness the beating of a group of Freedom Riders at the Trailways bus terminal in downtown. The incident served as the program's epilogue.

Following the showing of the film, a panel of scholars will offer reflections on the racial climate in Birmingham in 1961. Panelist include: Jean Thomason (Howard College graduate and the director of the Samford University Library), Wilson Fallin (associate professor of history at the University of Montevallo), and Tennant McWilliams (Birmingham-Southern graduate and Dean of the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UAB).

Students will receive Convo Credit for this event. Copies of the program's transcript are available for faculty members. The following week, on March 10, there will be a student-led forum, "Who Speaks for Birmingham NOW?"

This event is co-sponsored by Samford University Library. These events are part of "Before You Travel On: Reflections on the Fortieth Anniversary of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement" sponsored by Samford University and the Birmingham Public Library.     announcement by Jonathan Bass

Visit the Before You Travel On website