Mission: To teach students and adult citizens of national historic contributions to Freedom of Liberty (Veterans Day Movement) and Freedom of Rights (Civil Rights Movement) so we also have Freedom to Flourish at our callings with Plans for School and Life.
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Roots and Callings
Background on Life Leaders involvement and a handout for students showing long term impact of school lessons
Iron City >> Steel City >> Magic City >> Freedom City (positive and sustainable)
Birmingham has been known as “Steel City” and “Iron City” as well as “the Pittsburgh of the South” because of past thriving steel mills and iron works. Local businesses use Iron City and Steel City in their names. “Magic City” emerged as a nickname because Birmingham was growing so fast some said it was like “magic.” Iron as a natural resource and steel production at U.S. Steel, Sloss Furnace, and others contributed to the growth.
The 21st Century Birmingham Area economy has changed with more emphasis on education, banking, as well as technological and service industries. Sloss Furnace is a historic landmark, tourist attraction, and popular venue for events. While good names for businesses, Birmingham is not distinctively branded for these nicknames–an Internet search suggests Birmingham is not in the “Top 5” in the nation for any of the names.
If we are honest with ourselves, we admit many people do not understand why the name “magic”‘ is still used, though it is a nice nickname that some citizens like. An Internet search for “Magic City” shows an “adult club” in Atlanta. Birmingham does not seem to be branded as “Magic City” except in the minds of some citizens, many of whom grew up hearing the name. Visitors are more likely to ask what “Magic” in the name means.
When the World Games arrive, do we want the international media to try to explain what “Magic City” means or do we want them to know two of the most distinctive and positive national distinctions–Veterans Day and Human Rights, both connected by Freedom, a core value for most?
After WWII, National Veterans Day started in Birmingham in 1947 to honor veterans of all wars. Many veterans and cities had the same basic idea though Raymond Weeks and Birmingham took action to lead the national movement that included endorsement and assistance by General Eisenhower. General Omar Bradley was the keynote speaker at the 1947 World Peace Banquet. The United Nations supported the parade in Birmingham providing flags of all countries in the UN, which were carried by native sons or Boy Scouts in Birmingham. President Reagan made Birmingham’s role more official when in 1982 he honored Raymond Weeks of Birmingham as the “driving force” for establishing America’s holiday, Veterans Day. The U.S. Senate confirmed this history through a resolution in 2012. Other cities claim to have started Veterans Day, though they sponsored their founding events seven years after Birmingham started.
Birmingham and Veterans Day stand for Freedom of Life and Liberty. Because of freedoms protected by WWII veterans and others, America was motivated and able to aim higher to improve civil and human rights we honor.
The Civil Rights Movement reached its tipping point in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma in 1963. Now, “50 Years Forward,” we stand for Freedom of Civil and Human Rights in our city and state. Birmingham is often called the “Cradle of the Civil Rights Movement.” Numerous cities claim that nickname and historical distinction though Alabama seems to be the only one with three cities playing such key national roles in the movement.
Birmingham is only city in America known as a top leader for both national movements—Veterans Day and Civil Rights. The core value that links the two is Freedom.
Because of the freedoms of Life and Liberty plus Civil and Human Rights, we can aim higher at Freedom to Flourish at our Callings. With that freedom, we can Plan for School and Life seeking, writing, and acting on our callings and choices.
Life Leaders has launched a third national movement—Plan for School and Life—to equip educational leaders, teachers, and parents to help students write plans for life while in school that inspire and guide them through character education, academic plans, and the Seven Areas of Life so they are more prepared for College, Career, and Citizenship. We have begun work in Birmingham and with State educational leaders. More must be done. Attitude, Attendance, and Achievement will improve in Alabama, then the USA. Most say they “know” about the value of goals, plans, and best-self leadership–the call now is for leadership to put that common sense into place so students are expected and rewarded for taking action on their freedoms by identifying their purposes and plans.
Three national movements originating in Birmingham align for “Freedom City.” It’s time to add a new nickname and positive brand for Birmingham, Alabama. If we cooperate and do this well, education, conventions and tourism, as well as civic action can improve like “magic.”
This message applies to the whole State of Alabama and to the nation. Four of the cities in the “cradle of the Civil Rights Movement are in Alabama–in addition to Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and Tuscaloosa.
We welcome what you think: write to David@LifeLeadersInstitute.org. We invite you to Follow Freedom City on Facebook. Visit Freedom to Flourish on this web site. Thanks for reading our message and considering possibilities.
We have Freedom of Liberty and Freedom of Rights. Now, we have Freedom to Flourish. Life Leaders and those we serve help empower people to Lead their Lives and Serve Others so we all can flourish at our callings. –David
Freedom Lives web site
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