Southern Christian Leadership Conference begins in Birmingham

"Birmingham is the catalyst of the civil rights movement worldwide in terms of the vision, not only for Dr. King but those who are basically asking to be taught in the King theory," said Southern Christian Leadership Conference President, Dr. Charles Steele.SCLC chose to bring the 56th annual conference to the Magic City, a place be believes is a civil rights model to the rest of the world. "All over the world, people are asking. How has Birmingham, Alabama got involved with the upward mobility that they have an African American mayor?" explained Steele. "They have their racial condition under control- white people, black people working together. We want to be like that."Panelists will fill this room throughout the week to discuss topics like the Stand Your Ground Law, black entrepreneurship and affordable education."Education is the new civil rights movement" said Steele, who added that it has out priced itself. At the conference, Steele says he'll lay out a plan to cut college tuition nearly in half. He wouldn't say exactly how, but says it includes collaboration with accredited schools. He'll also roll out a plan to increase black entrepreneurship.{}"We're going to collaborate with major corporations internationally. We have relationships across the world. We can't afford to mention who they are now. But, we have many of them that will be at this conference."Mayor William Bell hopes holding the conference{} in Birmingham will reinforce the city's role in the movement 50 years ago."Part of my goal has been to tell the Birmingham story," said Mayor Bell. "A story that has made it possible for someone like myself to grow up in a segregated society, but then to go on and be the leader of this great city."