3 things you need to know about Birmingham’s proposed Freedom Walk

Freedom Walk
Freedom Walk
Here’s a vision that links a number of sites that played key roles in the Civil Rights Movement with different parts of Birmingham into a cohesive whole. Graphic via urbanimpactbirmingham.org

Have you heard about Freedom Walk—the vision to join three parts of Birmingham that were pivotal in the Civil Rights Movement together for a brighter future? Read on for all the details.

1. “One cohesive growth community … to build an equitable future.”

4th Avenue Business District
Take a stroll through the Historic 4th Ave Business District. Photo via Birmingham City Council

According to Urban Impact Birmingham, one of Freedom Walk’s main organizers, the vision of the project is to create  “one cohesive growth community where people can live, work, play, learn, shop and experience history.”

Here are three main historically significant areas this vision proposes linking economically and culturally:

  • Historic 4th Avenue Business District
  • Birmingham Civil Rights District
  • Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument District

In case you’re not sure what all is included in these three areas, we’ll get to that in a sec.

But one important point is that North Birmingham’s Smithfield neighborhood and both Northside and Southside communities stand to benefit from the new economic opportunities that are part of this vision.

2. 3 notable areas inspired the Freedom Walk vision.

Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument

Bethel Baptist Church
Rev. Shuttlesworth brought Dr. King to Birmingham. Photo by Sharron Swain for Bham Now

Did you know Birmingham has its own National Monument ? Similar to a National Park, it was created in 2017 and joins well-known landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

The plan is for the National Park Service to set up shop in the west wing of the A.G. Gaston Motel once its $10m renovation is complete in the Winter of 2021. They plan also includes the development of an interpretive space in the building.

Historic 4th Avenue Business District

Carver Theatre, 4th Avenue Business District
Carver Theatre in the 4th Avenue Business District. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Here are a few stories to fill you in on this important part of town:

Birmingham Civil Rights District

MLK Birmingham
50th Anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. observed on April 4, 2018 at Kelly Ingram Park. Photo by Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now.

Not only did the Civil Rights District serve as the setting for many of the events of 1963 that changed the US—and ultimately the world—but it also figures prominently in plans for the city’s future.

3. More sites included in Freedom Walk’s vision.

Birmingham Alabama Freedom Walk
Four Little Girls at Kelly Ingram Park. Photo via Pat Byington for Bham Now

These include:


We’re looking forward to seeing how Freedom Walk develops over time. If you want to follow along, visit www.urbanimpactbirmingham.org for updates.

Now tell us, Birmingham, what do you think of Freedom Walk? Tag us on social @bhamnow and let us know!

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference