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Birmingham 2021: Year in Review

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Compiled by Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times 

It was a busy news year in Birmingham for a city slowly recovering from a pandemic that had shut down nearly all aspects of the municipality. In August, Mayor Randall Woodfin was re-elected to a second term. That same month Ashley M. Jones, 31, founder of the Magic City Poetry Festival, was named the next Poet Laureate for Alabama, making her the first Black Poet Laureate for the state and the youngest person to hold the position. And the J.M. Smucker Co. announced plans in November to invest $1.1 billion to build a new manufacturing facility and distribution center in the McCalla AL, the largest investment in county’s history. Here’s some more notable news from the year. 

January

4: Less than a week after testing positive for COVID-19, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is hospitalized with COVID pneumonia. Woodfin, who had been recovering at home, was admitted to the hospital to address symptoms connected to the pneumonia, according to his doctor.

5: For the first time ever, the Birmingham City Council holds its weekly meeting virtually. The switch to virtual was decided in the midst of a COVID-19 surge.

6: Woodfin released from Princeton Baptist Medical Center, where he received Remdesivir and convalescent plasma therapy to address COVID pneumonia. 

16: Charles A. “Scotty” McCallum, Jr., DMD, M.D., the third president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, former Vestavia Hills mayor and a pillar of the community for 70 years, dies at age 95.

17: The Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum celebrates the 100th anniversary of The Negro Leagues in a virtually streamed event. This celebration pays tribute to the players of the Negro Leagues and shines a light on the impact the league had in many Black communities across the country, especially in Birmingham.

18: Alabama Department of Public Health begins COVID-19 vaccinations statewide by appointment to residents 75 years or older and first responders, including law enforcement and firefighters. Within the first few hours of opening up the Scheduling Hotline, ADPH receives more than 338,000 calls.

21: Woodfin announces his plans to run for re-election during a presser about vaccine info in Jefferson County and when asked about rumors that he would work in the Biden administration. “I will be working with the Biden administration while mayor of Birmingham,” Woodfin says.

21: On a week where an average of more than 2,500 cases of COVID-19 are reported daily, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey extends until March 5 the Safer at Home order that requires wearing masks in public and mandated social distancing and sanitation measures in businesses and public places.

25: Woodfin announces that Birmingham received $2.6 million, from the federal government’s Emergency Rental Assistance program, to give aid to city residents struggling to pay rent or utilities.

29: Woodfin releases the city’s first-ever VITAL (Valuing Inclusion to Accelerate and Lift) report of spending with minority and women-owned firms and urged other companies to publish similar reports. Between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, the City of Birmingham spent more than $24 million with minority-owned and women-owned businesses, according to the report.

February

5: The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System unanimously approves the renaming of the former George C. Wallace Building on the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus. The facility is now the Physical Education Building.

9: Hope Enterprise Corp., with a $130 million commitment from Goldman Sachs, partners with seven cities and nine historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the South to launch the Deep South Economic Mobility Collaborative (DSEMC). Birmingham, Montgomery and their respective HBCUs, Miles College and Alabama State University, take part in the collaborative.

12: Responding to a challenge issued by Woodfin, 10 Birmingham companies and institutions release a report of $663.05 million in spending with minority and female vendors.  The report is tied to the VITAL initiative (see Jan. 29). The 10 entities included Alabama Power, Birmingham Business Journal, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, Hoar Construction, Mayer, Protective Life Corp., Regions Financial Corp., Shipt, The University of Alabama at Birmingham and The World Games 2022.

March

1: The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) announces it will receive more than $12.8 million from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2021 Capital Fund Program Grant Awards. HABD officials said the funds are to be used to finance a number of efforts to improve public housing communities and greatly assist in ensuring safe, decent and healthy homes in the city.

4: Governor Ivey extends Alabama’s statewide mask order to April 9. Ivey said she would not extend the mask order beyond April 9. 

8: Some Birmingham City Schools students reenter classrooms. The students were given the choice to participate in hybrid learning, where they were split into two groups, each of which went to school on either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday for instruction and did work at home.

9: Jefferson County Manager and CEO, Tony Petelos announces his retirement effective in June.  Petelos was appointed as the first person to hold the position on Oct. 1, 2011. He made the announcement at the end of the Commission’s Committee of the Whole meeting inside the downtown Courthouse.  

10: Birmingham native Marshall Latimore, executive editor of the Atlanta Voice, a historic Black-owned newspaper, is found dead. He was 36.

16: The Birmingham City Council authorizes $1.25 million of the city’s HUD HOME Investment Partnership to Zimmerman Properties for the development of up to 244 apartment units in Ensley, on the property of abandoned Ensley High School.

25: A string of deadly tornadoes roar through Alabama, toppling trees, demolishing homes and knocking out power to thousands, part of a broad swath of violent weather sweeping across the Deep South. At least five fatalities and an unknown number of injuries are reported.

29: The Birmingham City Council unanimously votes to restore two paid city holidays for employees. Workers will receive pay for Good Friday and Memorial Day, two of nine of city paid holidays suspended as part of cost-cutting measures in the 2020-21 fiscal budget caused by COVID-19.

31: Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit officials and the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) unveil what they said is the future of the library system. The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority donated a para-transit bus to the BPL that will provide mobile library services to the city’s 99 neighborhoods. The para-transit bus will be converted into a vehicle that will transport books, DVDs and other library services on the road.

April

5: Woodfin and US Rep. Terri A. Sewell announce that Birmingham received $148.82 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding through the American Rescue Plan.

6: The Birmingham City Council extends an ordinance requiring face masks or coverings to be worn in public until May 24. The council voted 8-1 with Councilor Hunter Williams being the lone ‘no’ vote.  

9: A first-of-its kind vote to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer fails. The company secures a majority of no votes, defeating an effort from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU).

13: Ensley District Developers (EDD) take the next steps in completing the mechanical demolition of Ensley’s Ramsay-McCormack building after months of deconstructing and salvaging materials from the building. Those salvaged materials will be used in a new, five story, 30,000 square foot structure and will support character-defining features such as integration of bricks, some marble, some terra cotta and overall architectural design. This new structure will also be the tallest building in Ensley, like the original.

13: Discussed for years, the redevelopment of the Southtown Court housing project moves one-step closer to reality when the Birmingham City Council votes to re-zone the property from multiple dwelling to mixed-use. The council voted 7-0-1 to rezone with Councilor Valerie Abbott abstaining and Councilor Crystal Smitherman absent.

16: The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) earmarks $6 million to make security upgrades in its public housing sites.  Several children had lost lives in public housing over the past 24 months including four-year-old Jurnee Coleman; three-year-old Kamille ‘Cupcake’ McKinney, and two-year-old Major Turner.

17: Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical defeats Alabama State 38-14 in the 79th annual Magic City Classic. The game was rescheduled from the fall and featured no tailgating and no bands.

19: During a virtual press conference, Birmingham City Schools (BCS) Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan announces that BCS would offer free programs for its students this summer to recover learning loss and provide enrichment opportunities for all students.

19: Woodfin announces the formation of the city’s first Civilian Review Board, which comes in response to recommendations from the City’s Public Safety Task Force and one year after widespread outrage at the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minnesota police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes.

20: Woodfin pardons more than 15 thousand individuals with closed misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions between 1990 and 2020. Woodfin formed a Pardons for Progress program in 2019, an initiative designed to remove barriers to employment for individuals who have been convicted of marijuana possession. 

21: Woodfin expresses condolences to family, friends and co-workers of Donald Jones, a 26-year veteran of the Birmingham Fire and Rescue and fire chief for Midfield, who passed on April 21. He was 59. Chief Jones retired from Birmingham Fire and Rescue on Feb. 14, 2020 as an assistant chief. He was later hired as fire chief for the City of Midfield.

23: Birmingham’s mayor and police chief; Jefferson County’s Sheriff and DA and the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama announce a partnership to stem gun violence in Birmingham and across Jefferson County. The alliance comes in a month that saw an uptick in gun violence including one week that left at least seven dead and more than 10 wounded. 

30: Yo’ Mama’s, a homegrown lunch and brunch place in downtown Birmingham, was one of about three dozen restaurants around the country – and the only one in Alabama – to receive a James Beard Foundation (JBF) grant through the organization’s Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans. 

May

1: Kikstart Inc., the non-profit that provides healthy meals across Jefferson County, opens its first brick and mortar store in the Birmingham area offering deep discounts on everything from appliances to clothing. The grand opening was held at the West Town Plaza in Bessemer.  

3: Gov. Kay Ivey announces the then-current COVID-19 public health order would expire May 31, and that the existing pandemic state of emergency would end July 6 with no plans to extend either.

10: The Alabama Power Foundation announces a partnership with Venture for America (VFA) in a groundbreaking initiative that will connect graduates from leading colleges to four Birmingham-area organizations being led by or supporting entrepreneurs who are Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC).

13: Gov. Ivey announces Alabama is expanding COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to include people age 12 and older.

18: Woodfin unveils a proposed $455.5 million FY 2022 spending plan, the largest in the city’s history, that would make ‘everyone whole’ again, he said.  In his address to the City Council, Woodfin said the city is standing “at a moment of recovery and restoration” and the budget invests in people.

20: The Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) unveils a glimpse of the future with the addition of two electric buses to its fleet

24: The City of Birmingham’s mask ordinance officially expires.

25: Birmingham Promise, which provides funds for tuition and work experience for city students, will receive $8 million in donations from several area companies, the city announces.  The donations go to city students entering Alabama’s public two-year and four-year colleges and universities.

June

1: The Birmingham City Council unanimously approves Woodfin’s proposal to award full-time employees a one-time $5,000 premium payment and $2,500 for part-timers.

5: Quincy Moore of Concierge Mobile Barbershop provides free haircuts as the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists (BABJ), in partnership with Brother Let’s Talk and the Birmingham Barber Coalition, hosted “Choppin’ It Up” at Linn Park in downtown.

8: Woodfin, joined by nearly two dozen faith leaders, announces a $125,000 fund to help solve crimes against six children under the age of 10 who had been shot in Birmingham at that point in the year.

15: The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute announces it, alongside the Equal Justice Initative (EJI) in Montgomery and other civil rights groups, would receive portions of a $6 million donation from a New York-based law firm, money which was received as attorney’s fees from Jefferson County.

17: Doug Emhoff, the U.S. Second Gentleman, stresses the importance of COVID-19 vaccines during a visit to Birmingham, tells a group of community members that the doses are about helping others.

18: Juneteenth in Birmingham kicks off at the Historic Arlington House with an art show featuring the works of Ronald McKeithen, who was released last year from prison after 37 years. At age 21, McKeithen was sentenced to life without parole under Alabama’s “three strikes” law. 

19: It rained most of the day, but that didn’t dampen the Juneteenth festivities in Birmingham’s Linn Park or around the metro area. Hundreds came out to observe Juneteenth, the oldest known African American celebration of emancipation in the nation. It celebrates freedom and the official end of slavery. 

24: City officials, neighborhood officers and business leaders are in Ensley’s Belview Heights neighborhood to break ground on the start of a $25 million development deal to build affordable homes in a historic neighborhood. Oak Hill, a new housing development located near 51st Street Ensley and Avenue K, will feature 28 detached, single-family homes ranging from 1,200 to 1,350 square feet. 

26: The Birmingham Times Media Group (BTMG) is recognized with first place Alabama Press Association (APA) awards for stories and photographs covering social justice protests and the COVID-19 pandemic, among the top local and national stories of 2020. Also, The Times is honored by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) during its virtual convention with first place awards in Newspaper Excellence; Social & Criminal Justice and Layout and Design. In all, the media publisher wins a total of 12 journalism awards over the weekend, including its second national award for general excellence.

July

3: The Independence Weekend Summer Slam at Birmingham’s Legion Field features headliners Jeezy, Lil Durk, Boosie Badazz, Yung Bleu, Mooski, and more. The event marked one of the first major outdoor concerts in Birmingham this summer.

7: Exactly one year before the start of The World Games 2022, city leaders and organizers unveil two mascots who will be front and center for the events — Vulcan and Vesta, his feminine counterpart.

7: UAB announces that Shekwonya Samuel, a first-year Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in health behavior and promotions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was the first-place graduate winner of the Minority Student Research Symposium.

10: The Rev. Mike McClure Jr., pastor of the Rock City Church in Birmingham and a musician popularly known nationwide as “Pastor Mike Jr.,” wins three Stellar Awards. McClure, who was nominated in seven categories, won artist of the year; urban/inspirational single or performance of the year for his hit song “I Got It” and rap/hip hop gospel album of the year for “Big: Freedom Sessions.”

12: Then-executive director of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA) Frank T. Martin announces that every transit route covered by the BJCTA will get a thorough review with the goal of making improvements regarding frequencies and the distance between vehicles.

13: Lawson State Community College (LSCC) and Miles College presidents announce that LSCC students with an associate’s degree can now easily transfer to Miles College to obtain a bachelor’s. After completing 64 transferable hours or obtaining an associate’s from LSCC, Miles College will provide admissions to Lawson State students and/or alumni who possess at least a GPA of 2.0 in their core curriculum or a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

17: Woodfin joins Eddie Stivers III, President of Stivers Ford of Birmingham, and Cornell Wesley, Director of the city’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity to formally announce a new Ford Trustmark facility to be built on the former Virginia College campus at the Palisades. The development will create 80 new jobs and employ a total of 150.

20: The City of Birmingham officially bans no-knock warrants, which had never been a part of police department operations. “We’re going to continue to work to re-evaluate all of our policies, re-evaluate everything that we do, to make sure that we are implementing best practices in law enforcement and keeping the community safe, while making sure that our officers are safe,” says Patrick D. Smith, chief of Birmingham Police Department.

29: The city of Birmingham announces that it will require all visitors and municipal employees to, again, wear face masks or face coverings while in city-owned venues. The news comes one day after Birmingham City Schools, which began in-person classes Aug. 2, announces that all students, faculty, and visitors would be required to wear face masks in the fall.

29: The University of Alabama at Birmingham announces that Fouad Fouad, Ph.D., a leader among UAB’s engineering staff, as well as in Birmingham at large, is retiring after 40 years with the university.

31: Miles College clears balances for eligible students enrolled in classes during the Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021 semesters. By using the funding Miles College received through both the CARES Act and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), the college was able to clear $2.1 million in outstanding student balances.

August

2: To support minority-owned businesses in Birmingham, Mastercard and the city announce a partnership to provide equipment for cash-only businesses to take digital payments, as well as assistance with building online presence.

3: Woodfin says that 10 percent of Public Works employees had tested positive for COVID-19, which has contributed to significant delays in municipal lawn cutting and other work by the department. The combination of 17 days of rain in July and those positive COVID tests “[had] caused significant delays in our services,” said the mayor.

4: Birmingham’s Jordyn Hudson premieres her documentary “Shape the Culture: Then & Now,” which connects today’s youth movement with young people of the Civil Rights marches during the 1960s. 

6: Birmingham city officials settle a lawsuit they filed in June against an apartment complex, accusing the owner of maintaining a public nuisance. The city in a news release announced the settlement with Steele Valley Brook LLC, the company that owns the Monarch Ridge Apartments on the northeastern edge of the city.

10: In a resolution presented to the Birmingham City Council, Councilor Steven Hoyt says the city should “reinforce” its aims to protect civil rights monuments, such as the recently vandalized plaque honoring Bishop Calvin Woods. 

10: The Board of Trustees of the Birmingham Public Library presents a resolution to the family of the late Shelly Millender Jr., who as a Miles College student in 1963 led a sit-in that eventually led to the desegregation of the downtown library. Millender passed away at age 86 on July 17, 2021.  

11: Marcia L. Fudge, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) joins U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell and Birmingham leaders at an under-construction apartment complex in Titusville to tout President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, while praising economic development in the city.

12: Through the release of Census data, Huntsville is the largest city in Alabama. The numbers show Huntsville was home to more than 215,000 people, a growth of nearly 35,000 – or around 19 percent, since the last Census in 2010. Birmingham, on the other hand, is shrinking, shedding 11,500 people in the last decade, a 5 percent decline.

19: Bush Hills STEAM Academy becomes the first Birmingham City School (BCS) school to earn COGNIA certification which is awarded to schools that have two years of Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) programs for its students and meet rigorous performance standards.

20: Ralph “Cal” Markert is named Jefferson County Manager effective Oct. 1. Markert, the former deputy county manager, became only the second person in the county’s history to hold the position replacing Tony Petelos, who announced his retirement in March.

22: Ashley M. Jones, founder of the Magic City Poetry Festival, is named the next Poet Laureate for Alabama, making her the first Black Poet Laureate for the state and the youngest person to hold the position. Jones, 31, was tapped for the role at the Alabama Writers Cooperative’s annual conference. The Poet Laureate of Alabama is a four-year term during which the selected poet serves as an ambassador of poetry for the state.

24:  Woodfin, elected in 2017 as Birmingham’s youngest mayor in more than a century, cruises to a second term with 64.33 percent of the vote in the 2021 municipal elections.

According to unofficial results, Woodfin won with 23,616 votes in a field of seven challengers that included Jefferson County Commissioner Lashunda Scales who finished second with 7,625 votes, 20.77 percent; former mayor William Bell, third with 3,354 votes, 9.14 percent and businessman Chris Woods with 1,562 votes, 4.26 percent. Four other candidates finished with less than 1 percent.

In Birmingham’s City Council elections, seven incumbents won and two were pushed into a runoff set for Oct. 5.

In District 1, Clinton Woods ran unopposed; in District 2; Hunter Williams, easily won a second term with 69.5 percent of the vote; in District 3, Valerie Abbott, the council’s longest-serving member received 52.8 percent of the vote.

In District 5, Darrell O’Quinn was re-elected with 58 percent of the vote; in District 6 Crystal Smitherman was re-elected with 66.6 percent; in District 7, Wardine Alexander avoided a runoff with 52.9 percent of the vote; and in District 8, real estate developer Carol Clarke won with 52 percent of the vote in a seat vacated by Steven Hoyt.

In district 4, council president William Parker was forced into a runoff with activist J.T. Moore, and in district 9, John Hilliard faced Alabama Justice Initiative CEO LaTonya Tate in a runoff.

In Birmingham Board of Education races,  Neonta Williams defeated incumbent Terri Michal in the Birmingham Board of Education race with 56 percent of the vote to Michal’s 43 percent and believed to become the first African American woman to fill the district 2 seat for Birmingham City Schools.

25: Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins, a celebrated poet, writer and community activist, is found dead at his home in Warrior, Alabama where he lived. He was 42.

28: Basketball legend Charles Barkley headlines a COVID-19 vaccination drive that draw dozens of people to Birmingham’s Legion Field. Barkley, who has been outspoken in his support of the vaccine, spent nearly two hours signing autographs, taking selfies with fans, and urging people to get the shot.

30: The Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority’s Board of Directors names Charlotte Shaw as the agency’s next chief executive officer. Shaw is overseeing the construction of the city’s Bus Rapid Transit System (called the Birmingham Xpress), and replaced respected transit industry veteran Frank Martin, who joined the BJCTA as a consultant in December 2018

September

10: Dozens of poets, friends, family and community members pay loving tribute to Brian “Voice” Porter Hawkins at a special Bards and Brews event hosted by the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) at Boutwell Auditorium in downtown.

14: Protective Life Corporation and the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) celebrate the sign lighting ceremony at Protective Stadium. The occasion included Alabama Gov. Ivey, Birmingham Woodfin, other elected officials, Protective employees, business and community leaders and project partners.

15: Steve Serra Auto Group presents Birmingham Promise with a $50,000 check to support college scholarships and work experiences for students in Birmingham City Schools.

18: Deputy Willie Hall, who had been with the Jefferson County sheriff’s office since 2018, dies. He was 48.

20: Business leaders, community leaders and University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) faculty cut the ribbon on a new one-mile stretch of low-speed road, as part of celebrating quality of life improvements in the North Titusville community.

21: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards a $1.1 million grant to the City of Birmingham’s restoration of the historic A.G. Gaston Motel. Funds from the “Humanities in Place” program will support restoration of the interior coffee shop and dining room in the 1968 wing of the motel.

25: Brenda’s Brown Bosom Buddies (BBBB) hosts its annual “Sistah Strut,” an event which celebrates breast cancer survivors, promotes breast cancer screening and raises money for free mammograms for uninsured, low-income women.

30: Frank Martin’s final day as executive director and CEO of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (BJCTA).

October

2: The grand opening of Protective Stadium a $200 million, 45,000-seat outdoor stadium built in downtown Birmingham as UAB falls 36-12 to Liberty.

4: Birmingham City Council President William Parker loses his bid for reelection in a runoff with challenger J.T. Moore in district 4. City Councilor John Hilliard loses his bid for re-election against challenger LaTonya Tate in district 9.

In the Board of Education runoff races, Sherman Collins Jr. defeats incumbent Douglas Ragland in district 1 while Jason Meadows defeats Le’Darius Hilliard in the district 9 race.

8: The Alabama Collective, a newly established campaign to bring together talented tech professionals and entrepreneurs to develop and expand the state’s emerging tech, innovation, and entrepreneurial programs kicks off in downtown Birmingham.

10: The Railroad Park Foundation hosts Picnic at Railroad Park, the first large-scale event held by the park since Jan. 2020, a few months before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

11: Construction begins in downtown on 20th Street with new landscaping and bike lanes, among other additions as part of the Birmingham Green Refresh from the City Center District Management Corporation (CCDMC) and REV Birmingham.

11: The University of Alabama (UA) announces its project to digitally preserve the work of Joe Minter, a sculptor based in Woodland Park, a neighborhood of Birmingham’s North Titusville community. Minter’s sculptures, which reference African slavery in the United States, the struggles from the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, and contemporary issues concerning race, make up what he calls his “African Village in America.”

12: After president of the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Board of Trustees puts out a letter Oct. 9 recommending the closure of four libraries, citizens voiced concerns and one resident called for the resignation of the board.

12: Officials with Jefferson County and the University of Alabama at Birmingham announce the launch of demolition and planning for a new Cooper Green Mercy Health Services building in Birmingham to replace the old hospital.

16: The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham announces the expansion of its operations statewide, becoming the Women’s Foundation of Alabama (WFA). The new name reflects the transformation of the organization as the leading voice and philanthropic engine for women in the state.

19: The Birmingham City Council approves Woodfin’s initiative to provide guaranteed income to 110 Birmingham residents through monthly payments. Embrace Mothers is a City of Birmingham pilot program in partnership with Mayors for a Guaranteed Income (MGI), a network of mayors advocating for guaranteed income to give Americans an income floor.

19: The City of Birmingham opens its Real Time Crime Center (RTCC), where the police department can remotely view cameras and GPS coordinates from other BPD members in steps to promote public safety and reduce crime.

26: Birmingham City Council on Tuesday saw three new councilors sworn in and a new president and president pro-tempore elected for the 2021-2025 term. The newcomers are Corporate Realty project director Carol Clarke, district 8; Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham member Johnathan “J.T.” Moore, district 4; and Alabama Justice Initiative founder LaTonya Tate, district 9.

Meanwhile the council unanimously elected Wardine Alexander, district 7, and Crystal Smitherman, district 6 as president and president pro tempore, respectively.

29: Birmingham Promise chief Rachel Harmon announces plans to step down in early 2022 and that the economic mobility initiative will soon launch a national search for a new executive director. 

29: Woodfin and the City of Birmingham honor Odessa Woolfolk, Birmingham civic activist and educator, at the Birmingham Museum of Art. AWAKEN is a celebration of the legacy of longstanding community leaders and activists who have shaped the city of Birmingham. The mayor presented Woolfolk with the “Putting People First Award’,” an award he created in 2019. 

29: One of Birmingham’s largest fashion events, Magic City Fashion Week (MCFW) kick off, looking to rebrand, reflect and represent.

30: Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical snaps a three-game losing streak with a 42-28 victory over Alabama State University in the 80th annual Magic City Classic at Legion Field in Birmingham. A&M improves to 4-0 in the Magic City Classic under head coach Connell Maynor with star quarterback Aqeel Glass starting all four games during the current series run.

November

1: JCCEO’s Board of Directors fires Sharon Myles, executive director, after the board was presented with an internal review of contracts that show financial inconsistencies. Myles denies wrongdoing.

2: It is announced that Austin, Texas-based Shipshape Solutions Inc. is building a network operations center in Birmingham. The center will be housed off U.S. 280 near downtown Birmingham. The company plans to grow to more than 750 employees by 2025.

4: The Jefferson County Commission votes to contribute $500,000 to help bring the United States Football League (USFL) to Birmingham. The County Commission votes unanimously to match the city of Birmingham’s $500,000 toward paying $2 million for the USFL project. 

4: Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr is presented with the 2021 Charles Colson Servant of Hope Award. The annual award is given by Prison Fellowship to a person who has brought the “message of hope, redemption and restoration” into correctional environments. The group is the nation’s largest Christian nonprofit serving prisoners, former prisoners and their families.

9: Woodfin announces Birmingham Promise is awarded a $1.8 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to expand its apprenticeship and internship program for seniors in Birmingham City Schools (BCS).

10: Guinness World Records and UAB Hospital announce that Curtis Means, who weighed only 14.8 ounces (420 grams) at birth, had set a record as the world’s most premature baby to survive

11: The annual Birmingham Veterans Day Parade is held downtown for a “live and in-person” tribute to the nation’s veterans after last year’s virtual celebration amid safety concerns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

11: Frank E. Adams Jr. resigns from his post as CEO of the A.G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club Inc. (AGGBGC), after having served in the role since 2012.

16: TAKE (Transgender, Advocates, Knowledgeable, Empowering), a Birmingham based non-profit dedicated to providing resources for trans women and men of color, receives a donation of $20,000 and a 15-passenger van from Carvana, the online used car retailer known for its multi-story car vending machines.

17: Southern Research announces plans for a new facility to be built on the site of Five Points South’s Quinlan Castle, a long-vacant apartment building constructed in the 1920s that has been deemed unsafe, too costly to repair, and unsuitable for modern lab space. When constructed, the facility will allow the company to hire more than 100 new scientists and make its Birmingham campus a hub for pandemic preparedness.

18: The J.M. Smucker Co. announces plans to invest $1.1 billion to build a new manufacturing facility and distribution center in the McCalla AL, just outside of Birmingham. The County Commission unanimously votes to support the project which will create over 750 new jobs in an 875,000 square foot facility on approximately 225 acres in the JeffMet Industrial Complex.

23: Woodfin takes the oath of office for the second time as Birmingham mayor with a nod to the city’s historic past but an invitation for citizens to help shape the future. 

23: The Birmingham Board of Education unanimously approves a bid of $8.7 million with Argo Building Company for a new stadium and field house at Woodlawn High School. Work on the project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022

December

2: Area leaders gather at downtown Birmingham’s Legacy Arena to celebrate the facility’s re-opening after $125 million in renovations.

7: Birmingham City Council unanimously votes to allocate a remaining $35 million in federal COVID-19 relief money toward economic development, transportation and public safety.

7: Miles College Board of Trustees votes to extend the contract of President Bobbie Knight to run through May 2024. Knight began her tenure at Miles College in August of 2019 as interim president before being voted permanent on March 5, 2020. 

21: Myles, the former JCCEO Executive Director, said some leaders of the JCCEO are assassinating her character “to create a smoke screen and shift the blame for the organization’s financial issues.” Myles, through her attorney, speaking publicly for the first time since being fired, said the real reason she was terminated on November 1 was not for mismanagement or ethical breach, “but rather due to an internal struggle for control.”

21: Reginald Ruffin, the highly successful athletic director and head football coach at Miles College, left the school for Tuskegee University where he will hold the same two positions. 

23: Fred Watson, Miles College head basketball coach and assistant athletic director, named interim AD to replace Reginald Ruffin who announced that he was leaving to become AD and head football coach at Tuskegee University. A search for the next head football coach is underway.