In another tribute to Birmingham’s Civil Rights legacy, a national history group is in town this week to hold its annual conference.
The American Association for State and Local History chose to host their annual conference throughout various historical venues downtown. Receptions and events will be held from September 18 through September 20 at venues including Sloss Furnaces, Vulcan and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
“In picking a city to host our annual conference, Birmingham was the obvious choice with the 50th anniversary,” said AASLH Program Director Bethany Hawkins.
“We are all history professionals and this was a particularly notable historical event.” There will be two keynote speakers and more than 80 sessions for some 600 registered members of the conference to attend.
AASLH has worked for more than 70 years to provide leadership and support for their members who try and preserve and interpret state and local history in order to further the importance and meaning of the past to all Americans. The association includes more than 6,000 individual and institutional members. It helps history organizations across the country develop programs, publications and services.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will be hosting the largest event – based on registration numbers – featuring Carolyn Maull McKinstry, who survived the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing and later went on to write the book While the World Watched.
“This turned out to be the main night of the conference events and allowed their theme of ‘Turning Point: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Change’ and venue to tie together nicely,” said BCRI Archivist Laura Anderson.
The Thursday night event at BCRI — called “a walk through civil rights history” — is the only event open to the general public.
“We are looking forward to hosting so many people and allowing the public to be a part of this experience for this particular time in history with Birmingham,” Anderson said.