What does 1963 mean to you?
Weld invites essays on the significance of Birmingham’s critical moment of 50 years ago.
by Nick Patterson
In 1963, Birmingham arrived, with the rest of the nation, upon the 100th anniversary of the day Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the end of slavery in most, although not all, of America. On that occasion, the 16th president had invoked “the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God” in his attempt to give freedom to those who had been oppressed by law and custom, owing entirely to the color of their skin.
One hundred years later, the descendants of those freedmen continued to fight for the civil rights accorded to other men whose ancestors had always been free in America. That fight would have many beachheads over long decades of struggle, but none would become more violent, or more deadly, than Birmingham.
The Birmingham Movement would bring together the forces of civil rights demonstrators under the leadership of such men as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Fred Shuttlesworth, arraying them against the machinery of entrenched segregation championed by Alabama Governor George Wallace and brutally enforced by Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor. The year 1963 would be one of important confrontations, dramatic political changes, and unspeakable violence against innocent children. It was a year, 50 years ago, which left a mark upon the face of a nation.
As Birmingham remembers the events of 50 years through an ever-unfolding series of tributes and commemorations springing up throughout the community, Weld invites you to speak through our pages – to tell the community what 1963, and the half century that followed, have meant to you.
Beginning next month, we will select essays, some written by writers of note, others by members of the community who can articulate what the year 1963 meant and means to them. All essays will be subject to editorial review. But we hope this will give the diverse members of the Birmingham community a voice so we can all share in the myriad of ways the watershed moment in our history 50 years ago touched and shaped who we are collectively today.
Please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, with “1963” and your name in the subject line.
Calling all superheroes of synonym
Weld will publish locally crafted creative works.
by Katherine Webb
Weld has this theory: writers are among us. Disguised as bus drivers and waiters, physicians and plumbers, teachers and statisticians, the literary citizens of Birmingham are crafting painstakingly away, word by careful word.
Consider these words a private letter from a lowly editor — a personalized invitation from a Birmingham publication, sympathetic to the creative writer.
If by day, you are a loyal office worker and by night, a superhero of synonym, we want to hear from you. If your alter ego is Emily Dickinson or Cormac McCarthy, Weld wants to know.
And Weld wants to share your work with its readers. Beginning February, Weld will publish, monthly, a piece of creative writing — poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction.
This addition of prose or poem to a newspaper is certainly not groundbreaking. The Victorians made trendy the inclusion of creative works to a magazine or newspaper’s editorial mass.
Remember, Charles Dickens’ work first appeared serialized. And Ted Kooser, former United States Poet Laureate, created the American Life in Poetry to publish poets and journalists side by side.
However, instead of sharing syndicated works of well-established authors, Weld hopes to showcase the creative works of Birmingham’s own.
This effort might alleviate the woes of modern literary hopefuls, who are forced to publish in literary magazines — a subculture of publications, often reserved for the academic or literary elite. How wonderful, then, to put local creative works in a free paper, found on street corners, cafés, and convenience stores?
With your help, Weld will fashion just this — an easily accessed forum for Birmingham’s creative writers.
Guidelines: Please submit only one story, essay, or poem at a time. Only previously unpublished work will be considered. Include a word count and indicate whether the submission is fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Inquiries regarding serialized long pieces will be considered. If selected, prepare to submit a brief bio and high-definition author photo. Weld will respond to submissions within six weeks. Online submissions only. All submissions must be emailed as an attachment. Send work to Katherine Webb at email@example.com.