Student films about the Birmingham Movement are now published online.  See them here.  

“tied in a single garment of destiny”

Martin Luther King, Jr. - Birmingham, 1963
"Letter from a Birmingham Jail"

The College of Arts and Sciences and the Civil Rights Movement

civilright wagon copyright

In 1963, Joseph Volker dreamed that he could develop the University of Alabama Medical School into the urban research university that would become UAB. In that most significant year for the city of Birmingham, Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote and spoke of his dream for racial equality across the nation.

Those two dreams, conceived in this city, were and remain intimately related. The momentous events of 1963-4 enabled Volker to realize his dream of expanding the institution. In addition, integration in Birmingham enabled Volker and his team to recruit world-class scholars and teachers who would never have come to what King had called “the most segregated city in America.”

civilrights walking copyrightTo grow into UAB, the University of Alabama annexed part of a historically black neighborhood and the wonderful Ullman high school. The College of Arts and Sciences now sits on some of those city blocks, and on those blocks, UAB has built one of the most diverse campuses in the nation; over 25% of our students are black.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the transformative civil rights events of 1963, the College of Arts and Sciences will remember and celebrate the past with speakers, film, music, art, and special classes. It is a time to reflect on and rejoice in our shared dreams, to acknowledge the profound changes that nurtured UAB, and to give back to the vibrant city that the College has helped to build.

We are indeed “tied in a single garment of destiny.” We invite you to join us as we remember and celebrate those ties.