“Freedom Oak” Trees planted to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement

50 “FREEDOM OAKS” to be Planted at Red Mountain Park

Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell, Sr., music legend William “Bootsy” Collins, former NFL player – Gary Burley and the Birmingham Botanical Gardens will host a kickoff event for the planting of 50 “Freedom Oak” trees at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on Saturday, January 11, at 2 p.m. The event is to kickoff the Commemorative Tree Planting Ceremony that will be held at Red Mountain Park beginning in the Spring 2014.

This planting will commemorate “50 Years Forward,” closing out Birmingham’s yearlong anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. As Birmingham has moved beyond the segregation and oppression of its pre-Civil Rights struggles, this event provides an opportunity to not only reflect on the city’s past, but also look forward to its future.

The Freedom Oak tree is a native species grown from locally collected seeds. It is rarely seen in commerce but is an essential part of local landscapes. Each seed can live for multiple human generations, sustaining the rich biodiversity that comprises Alabama’s natural heritage.

The planting will be an annual event to remind future generations of Birmingham’s historical connections to the Civil Rights Movement and promote a new era of progress for the city.  “We have selected Red Mountain Park as the planting site in part due to its historical significance in the building and development of Birmingham,” says Gary Burley.

The kickoff event will feature a tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and a premiere video from music legend “Bootsy” Collins.