The official kick off for the year long commemoration of the civil rights movement in 1963 is finally here. Mayor William Bell along with city leaders and the people of Birmingham got the opportunity to view the new exhibit at city hall.
"There were many scars created out of 1963, and after 50 years, it's time for us to recognize that," says Bell.
For the past several months, Bells' staff members have been collecting records to show what happened during that era, leading up to the deaths of four girls in a church bombing September 15th, 1963. Bell says, "It's very surprising to find some of the documents that we lost that we were able to find."
Like the shoes and arrest report for James Armstrong, who was once Martin Luther King junior's barber and foot soldier of the civil rights movement. And other documents of African Americans arrested for protesting during the 1960's. Some city leaders say this exhibit brings value to city hall.
City Councilwoman Valerie Abbott says, "Here at city hall, we don't have a lot of talk about race, people just deal with each other and do their jobs based on what needs to be done, so it's a different world, but it's a better one."
"Were inviting the world to come here and see not only our past, but our presence and to see the bright future that we have in our community," says Bell.