Birmingham's Civil Rights District named Ala.'s 2012 tourist attraction of the year | News
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC)- An area of Birmingham devoted to remembering the city's role in the civil rights movement is being recognized this year as Alabama's 2012 tourist attraction of the year.
The Alabama Department of Tourism named the Birmingham Civil Right District as the 2012 attraction of the year. The district includes 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The department says the Civil Rights District served as a "ground zero" during the 1963 civil rights campaign.
The tourism department says Kelly Ingram Park was a common gathering spot for civil rights demonstrators in the early 1960s. Statues in the park commemorate a time when police officers turned fire hoses and police dogs on civil rights marchers, including children.
Another famous civil rights landmark, Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, was the site of a 1963 bombing set off by Ku Klux Klan members that killed four young girls.
The church's current pastor, Rev. Arthur Price, Jr., said the church was honored to be included in the selection of the 2012 tourist attraction of the year along with neighboring Kelly Ingram Park and the BCRI.
"We count it a privilege to continue to show God's redemptive power in the midst of human struggle and the tragedies endured here during the Civil Rights Movement," Price said.
The BRCI, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, features exhibits that "reveal slices of black and white life in Alabama from the late 1800s to the present," the tourism department stated.
The President and CEO of the BCRI, Dr. Lawrence J. Pijeaux, Jr., says the institute's board and staff are honored by the selection as the 2012 state tourist attraction.
"We're delighted to be a destination that promotes the rich history of our city and state while creating unique personal experiences for all who visit," Pijeaux stated.
The Alabama Rourism Department bases their criteria for the award on economic impact, marketing efforts, additions or improvements, increased attendance and the "enhancement of local, regional or state image as a tourist destination."
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