World Monuments Fund
About This Project

About the Consortium

The Alabama African-American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium (managed by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute) is a collaboration among 20 historic places of worship, lodging and civic engagement that played significant roles in the African-American struggle for freedom. While recent history focuses on the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, these institutions have been dedicated to improving the quality of black life since Reconstruction. The Consortium was launched in January 2017 when the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute nominated the sites to the World Monuments Watch, WMF’s biennial program that partners with local stakeholders to use heritage conservation to empower communities. From that nomination, the Consortium evolved from a shared belief that there is strength in unity.

Following inclusion on the Watch, the Consortium identified documentation of aging foot soldiers’ oral histories of the sites as a most critical need, leading to the funding and creation of Voices of Alabama.

Recognizing their shared history, goals and mission, representatives from these sites have participated in joint meetings and needs assessments to set the agenda for ongoing work. The Consortium sites are sustained through the passion, commitment and herculean efforts of dedicated volunteers who are committed to preserving not only these historic properties but their important stories. Taken together, these sites provide a historical, social and cultural context for the movement that changed our state, nation and world. Moving forward, the Consortium will work with each site to assure that its legacy is preserved for today and future generations.

About the Project

Joyce O’Neal can still hear horses’ hooves on the steps of her church on Bloody Sunday. Nelson Malden recalls Martin Luther King Jr. stopping by his barbershop for a weekly haircut. Valda Harris Montgomery remembers more than 30 beaten Freedom Riders finding sanctuary in her childhood home. Voices of Alabama tells these and other stories from 20 sites of worship, lodging, and civic engagement in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma/the Black Belt that played significant roles in the African-American struggle for freedom—not just during the Civil Rights Movement, but beginning in Reconstruction.

Thanks to generous support from Jack Shear and the Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, with additional support from Friends of Heritage Preservation and an anonymous donor, Voices of Alabama allows users to explore each site from the Alabama African-American Civil Rights Heritage Sites Consortium through video, image, timeline, and map content.

Special thanks to production partners Alabama Public Television (original videography), Cameron Clendaniel (film editing), Madeline Berry (research), Georgette Norman (interviewer), Sherrel Wheeler Stewart (interviewer), and Athena F. Richardson (interview coordinator).

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Explore the Sites

When & Where , A Timeline of Civil Rights Events in Alabama

View TImeline