100 public officials and business leaders from Greensboro, NC recently came to Birmingham, AL on a trip to learn more about the best practices and pitfalls for economic development.
“So you’d think the visit would be a point of pride for Birmingham, and likely it is to some, but…. yikes! A look at the comments section beneath the Web version of theBirmingham News article is brutal – to both cities. And high on the snark factor.
Here’s a sampling:
• “I never would have imagined Greensboro was the size of (Birmingham). Another city passing us on their way up. Here’s your competition for tier 3 convention business.”
• “The sad fact is that in the late ’60s, Birmingham was talked about in the same paragraph with Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville. Now we are in the same discussion as Greensboro, NC?”
• “Translation: They need to come and see all the wonders of Shelby County’s empty strip malls. Now that’s progress.”
• “Are you serious? What does (Birmingham) excel in — murder, drugs, political scandals. Wow! This group would do better to stay home.”
• “Greensboro must be in a world of hurt to have to come to Bham for advice.”
• “This must be the dumbest group of 100 people on the planet. Maybe they thought they were going to visit Birmingham, England.”
In 2012, the former mayor of Bogota, Colombia came to Birmingham. After taking a bike ride through the blighted ruins of Titusville and Elyton, he said: “What I saw today was one of the most depressed areas I have ever seen.”
In 2010, there were 273,425 people in Greensboro, NC. There were 229,617 in Winston-Salem, 403,903 in Raleigh, 228,329 in Durham, 200,564 in Fayetteville, and 731,424 in Charlotte.
In 1960, there were 119,574 people in Greensboro, NC. There were 111,135 in Winston-Salem, 93,931 in Raleigh, 78,302 in Durham, 47,106 in Fayetteville, and 202,564 in Charlotte.
In 1960, there were 340,887 people in Birmingham. After 50 Years Forward, there are only 212,244 people left in Birmingham, which has been eclipsed by Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte in North Carolina. Fayetteville will also soon overtake Birmingham in population.
Once upon a time, Birmingham was in the same league as Atlanta. By 2017, Birmingham will fall behind Montgomery, Mobile, and Huntsville in population, but will still be able to boast that it is the indisputable “mecca for civil rights pilgrims,” with more “civil rights” activity per capita that any other city in America.
Note: In just the last few months, Birmingham allocated $100K to build a new monument to the “foot soldiers” of the Civil Rights Movement. A new
historical marker (shrine) that commemorates MLK’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” was also recently unveiled outside the old Birmingham City Jail.