Magic City Modern: A Short History of the Birmingham-Bessemer School As a site of collective memory, Birmingham, Alabama, is commonly associated with some of the darkest chapters in American history. In his famous 1963 “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Described the city: There can be no gainsaying of the fact that racial injustice engulfs this community.
- Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States.
- Its ugly record of police brutality is known in every section of this country.
- Its unjust treatment of Negroes in the courts is a notorious reality.
There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in this nation. These are the hard, brutal, and unbelievable facts. During the Civil Rights era, the increasing demand by black Americans for some semblance of social and political equity ignited long-simmering racial tensions, especially in the city of Birmingham.
- Demonstrators of all ages put their bodies and livelihoods on the line to protest oppressive Jim Crow laws, which were enforced with particular brutality in the region.
- Jim Crow laws were also known as black codes, as they were the rules that governed black life.
- There were, however, other types of black codes that existed throughout the South.
In this instance, we may think of a code not as rules but in terms of one of its other meanings: a visual system for communicating information, especially in secret. These other black codes were not ones used to enforce subjugation, but were instead personal and collective expressions.
- This text addresses the existence of such alternative codes, made manifest in the way that black artists in Alabama created work embedded with complex layers of conceptual meaning and aesthetic content that appeared in their yards and homes, often hidden from the public eye.
- This essay specifically serves as an introduction to a group of black male artists living in the greater Birmingham, Alabama, area from the period after the Civil Rights Movement through today.
While two of the artists, Thornton Dial Sr. (1928–2016) and Lonnie Holley (b.1950), have achieved relative institutional and academic recognition, the other two members of this group, Joe Minter (b.1943) and Ronald Lockett (1965–1998), remain comparatively underrecognized within the history of art and underrepresented on the walls of museums.
- These four artists lived either in Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama, or the smaller adjacent town of Bessemer.
- They constitute what American studies scholar Bernard L.
- Herman calls the “Birmingham-Bessemer School.” While they did not refer to themselves as such, each artist acknowledges the importance of this small community to their individual practices.
All impacted, either directly or indirectly, by Jim Crow rule, Dial, Holley, Lockett, and Minter made works that are not simply documents of history or illustrations but hidden transcripts, visions of alternative futures, and radical archives of black determination.
- The hard, brutal, and almost unbelievable facts mentioned in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s description of Birmingham—racial injustice, police brutality, bombings—appear in the following works of art but are transformed, abstracted, and coded within the objects themselves. Fig.1.
- Thornton Dial, Monument to the Minds of the Little Negro Steelworkers, 2001–3.
Steel, wood, wire, twine, artificial flowers, ax blade, glass bottles, animal bones, cloth, tin cans, paint can lids, and enamel, 76 x 138 x 46 in. Minneapolis Institute of Art. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio. © Thornton Dial Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Even though the Birmingham-Bessemer School was active in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, their collective history is rooted in the circumstances surrounding Birmingham’s founding as a city in the late nineteenth century.
In Monument to the Minds of the Little Negro Steelworkers (fig.1), Dial draws upon the history of Birmingham as the steel and iron manufacturing capital of the South; the industry was propelled by black freedmen who worked in the iron foundries and coal mines of the region. Using primarily scrap metal, Dial has carefully manipulated this material into a swirling morass of curlicue forms.
These forms evoke the decorative ironwork (often made by black artisans) seen throughout Southern architecture—reminding viewers that the labor of black Americans is hidden everywhere. Additionally, the rags, bones, bottles, and artificial flowers that adorn the work’s metal structure recall black graveyard decorative traditions, an important phenomenon within the larger cultural history of black Americans.
Historically, black graveyards were some of the only sites white people dared not enter, allowing them to become some of the earliest spaces for safe visual expression by African Americans. Dial, himself a former metalworker, created this monument to, importantly, the intellect of the black workers whose contributions to the technological advancements pioneered in the area have gone unnoticed.
Viewed as a whole, Monument to the Minds of the Little Negro Steelworkers is a powerful visual index to the rich history of black life, love, and labor in the greater Birmingham region. Fig.2. Thomas Duke, Birmingham Alabama city convicts in their sleeping quarters.
- Shackles never removed,
- July 1907.
- Thomas Dukes Parke Collection, Birmingham Public Library Archives Birmingham was historically referred to as the Magic City because its soil contained the three necessary elements to produce iron: limestone, coal, and iron ore.
- This geological condition allowed Birmingham to become one of the most successful industrial centers in the post-Reconstruction South, and by the 1880s, it was the steel capital of the Southeast and one of the region’s most urbanized areas.
Far from any stereotypical vision of a rural Southern hamlet, Birmingham was a city built on its adoption of technological and industrial advancements, instead of relying on agriculture. The steel industry in Birmingham was fundamentally built on the continued violence toward and oppression of black workers.
- Birmingham was unique in the way that the city factory owners exploited a new form of industrial labor that could be equated to a form of slavery.
- The steel industry and local police force worked in concert to create this system of labor.
- Police in the Birmingham-Bessemer region would arrest black men for “crimes,” including loitering, vagrancy, or breaking curfew—essentially, being black in a public space—and then funnel them into the convict-lease system, so that they could be used as free labor for the steel and iron industry (fig.2).
Fig.3. Joe Minter, Chain Gang, 1995. Chains, shovels, picks, and fireplace grate. Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio In order to fully understand a work such as Joe Minter’s Chain Gang (fig.3), it is essential to confront the history of this particular form of oppressive labor.
In addition to exploiting a systematically unjust criminal arrangement, factory owners fashioned a caste system for paid laborers in which white workers, a minority of the employees, functioned as skilled labor, while the black workers, who represented the majority, were classified as unskilled labor, with little to no opportunity for upward mobility.
The black workers were given the most difficult and dangerous work in the foundries, exposing them to extreme heat, toxic gases, and unforgiving physical labor. Despite these horrific conditions, many African Americans outside of Alabama came to work in these foundries in an effort to escape the pittance of sharecropping.
By the 1920s, African Americans made up roughly 60 to 80 percent of the steel industry’s workers. In Minter’s metal assemblage, farm tools are forever chained together, the tools functioning as stand-ins for human figures, an allusion to the fact that the black body was historically viewed by those in power as valuable only insofar as it can be used for work.
The sculpture is created from metal, which was the final product of so much dangerous and backbreaking labor—then, of course, the metal produced could be turned into tools to facilitate more hard labor. Similar to Mel Edwards’s (b.1937) famous Lynch Fragments series, both artists imbue abstracted metal forms with a sense of malevolence, threat, and history.
Fig.4. Joe Minter, A Monument: The Birmingham Jail, 2000, part of The African Village in America. Photo: William Arnett Chain Gang functions as a standalone work, although it also belongs to a larger project Minter has been working on for the last few decades. Beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Minter began transforming his property into what he calls, “The African Village in America.” Stretching across the entirety of his one-acre property, it has now become a single-artist museum and art installation dedicated to the history of the black diaspora in the United States.
Minter began building this yard after he heard the city was about to begin construction on what is now the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, located in downtown Birmingham. In fearing that the city would not, in his words, “tell the story of his people that has never been properly told,” he embarked on this thirty-plus–year ongoing project.
As one weaves through his environment—which, as of 2020, can be visited by the public—it is possible to encounter abstract sculptures, such as Chain Gang, as well as found-object recreations of specific sites significant to black history, such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, or the Birmingham Jail cell (fig.4) from which Martin Luther King, Jr.
wrote his famous letter (quoted at the beginning of this text). Minter’s yard is one of the best extant examples of a visual phenomenon that used to exist across the South—the “yard show,” a type of site-specific art environment that was erected primarily by black Americans on their properties.
- The yard show was especially predominant in the Deep South.
- Originally defined by Robert Farris Thompson as “the practice of adorning one’s property and living space with objects of aesthetic, spiritual, and cultural significance,” these sprawling installations were filled primarily with found object assemblages, but also paintings and sculptures, and were once commonplace.
Beyond object adornment, these yards also presupposed the presence of a viewer, or a community within which such a practice could be understood. Additionally, yard shows were also a way of announcing ownership through visual expression; this is significant, considering how difficult it was (and still is, in many ways) for black people to own property.
Finally, in creating a massive, impossible-to-ignore art environment where visitors must confront American history, these artists present an artistic archive for oneself and one’s community. With the exception of Ronald Lockett, each artist in the Birmingham-Bessemer School constructed a yard environment.
What makes Minter’s yard particularly powerful, in addition to its content, is its location: perched on the top of a hill, it overlooks two historically black cemeteries, Shadow Lawn and Grace Hill, where many of Birmingham’s black laborers and citizens are laid to rest.
- The phenomenon of the yard show has now, for the most part, ceased, as their makers have passed away and black people have moved away from the South.
- Black flight from the South during the period of the Great Migration greatly impacted the cultural, social, and economic landscape of the region.
- While the Birmingham area was the site of major economic growth in the early half of the twentieth century, by the 1950s, industry jobs began to decline sharply.
By 1971, all the Birmingham iron mines had closed. These closures most sharply affected the city’s black population, who held the vast majority of its industrial jobs. The decline of this industry directly impacted Thornton Dial, perhaps the best-known member of the group.
- Dial had spent thirty years working at the Pullman Standard plant, and his neighborhood, Pipe Shop, was named for its proximity to U.S.
- Pipe, a major employer in Bessemer.
- After Dial was permanently laid off, at age fifty-eight, he decided to devote most of his time to art making.
- Working in his “junk house” studio on Fifteenth Street in the Pipe Shop, Dial began to experiment with making things that had no explicit utilitarian value, although at that stage he did not call these objects art.
Later, importantly, Dial would embrace his practice and self-identify as an artist. The early period of Dial’s career (late 1980s through the 1990s) is marked by the consistent presence of animal subject matter. Birds, fish, and, most of all, tigers make frequent appearances.
In Dial’s symbolic universe, the tiger served as an avatar for himself, and more generally, the history of black struggle in the United States. To the uninformed, the use of the tiger could seem like nothing more than a folksy proclivity, or, even more problematically, an indicator of a primitive connection to nature.
In actuality, using the tiger as a symbol for black struggle allowed him to speak about personal and social inequity in a veiled and critical fashion. Fig.5. Thornton Dial, Monkeys and People Love the Tiger Cat, 1988. Rope, carpet, wire, enamel, and Splash Zone compound on wood.
Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Photo: Gamma One Conversions. © Thornton Dial Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York For example, in the early work Monkeys And People Love the Tiger Cat (fig.5), a blue tiger rendered out of rope is surrounded by abstracted human and monkey figures painted in bold strokes of black and white.
A snake, a biblical symbol for evil, stretches across the top of the painting. Even at this early phase in his career, Dial was skeptical of the approval he was beginning to receive in the mainstream art world. This scene is a coded expression of Dial’s early apprehension, where the tiger is made to perform for people, whose features, while abstracted, are noticeably rendered primarily in white.
Fig.6. Jim Peppler, Roadside Sign for the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, 1966. Jim Peppler Southern Courier photograph collection, Alabama Department of Archives and History The tiger’s close relationship to the black panther is no coincidence. The Black Panther image originated from Lowndes County, located just outside of Montgomery, Alabama.
The Lowndes County Freedom Organization (LCFO) was formed in 1965 under the umbrella of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), helmed by Stokely Carmichael. As a party, the LCFO had a mission to register the majority black citizens of Lowndes County to vote.
They chose the black panther as their symbol, and a year later Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale adapted the image for the newly formed Black Panther Party, based in Oakland, California. In looking at the roadside sign for the LCFO, as captured in Jim Peppler’s photograph (fig.6), the flattened, horizontal orientation of the panther figure, with its upwardly curved tail, bears a striking formal resemblance to Dial’s Monkeys and People Love the Tiger Cat,
Dial’s selection of the tiger as an avatar, with its proximity to the panther, allowed him to indirectly associate himself with larger movements addressing black struggle without having to explicitly state his politics. Fig.7. Ronald Lockett, Once Something Has Lived It Can Never Really Die, 1996, wood, enamel, graphite, tin, found materials, industrial sealing compound, on wood, High Museum of Art.
Photo credit: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio. © Ronald Lockett Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York The animal avatar shows up with particular prominence in the work of another member of the Birmingham-Bessemer School, Ronald Lockett. Lockett was Thornton Dial’s much-younger cousin, who, for a period of time, “studied” under Dial in an unofficial mentor-mentee capacity.
Also living on Fifteenth Street, for years Lockett was the only person allowed in the junk house studio while Dial was working. As his protégée, the most significant concept Lockett appropriated from Dial was the use of an animal avatar as an encoded autobiographical figure.
- As his avatar, Lockett selected not a predator, but prey—a deer.
- The whitetail deer that often appear in Lockett’s paintings and assemblages (fig.7) are commonly found throughout Alabama, in both rural and urban areas.
- In the mid-twentieth century, the Alabama Department of Conservation began cultivating a stock of deer throughout the state.
Hunting whitetail deer was and continues to be a popular pastime in Alabama; the majority of hunters are white men who live in rural areas. Lockett was not a hunter. In choosing the deer as his avatar, specifically, the common Alabama whitetail deer, in effect, he was positioning himself as the locally hunted animal.
- In choosing an animal of prey instead of a predator, Lockett’s deer are meditations on the difficulty of young black survival in the small postindustrial town of Bessemer, where job opportunities were limited, and, for many of Lockett’s generation, leaving seemed like the only option.
- In addition, the male deer that appear throughout his work are also an homage to his mentor, Thornton Dial, who was referred to by loved ones as “Uncle Buck.” Beyond animal subject matter, Lockett was deeply interested in creating works of art related to the collective history of the area.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Birmingham was also called “Bombingham” due to the frequency of bombings committed by white residents, who sought to terrorize the black community and quell any form of uprising and resistance. In Smoke-Filled Sky (fig.8), Lockett takes charred wood, reignited with lashes of red paint, and visualizes this act of violence.
- As the school’s youngest member, Lockett did not personally experience the effects of Jim Crow or the unfolding of the Civil Rights Movement.
- Nevertheless, he felt the need to address this shared history in his own practice. Fig.8.
- Ronald Lockett, Smoke-Filled Sky (You Can Burn A Man’s House But Not His Dreams), 1990.
Charred wood, industrial sealing compound, paint, on wood, Souls Grown Deep Foundation. Photo credit: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio. © Ronald Lockett Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Born in 1950, Lonnie Holley did live through this traumatic period of American history.
- One of the most significant acts of domestic terrorism, which helped ignite the Civil Rights Movement, was when the Ku Klux Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 1963, killing four black girls who were changing into their choir robes in the church basement.
- Holley was thirteen years old when the bombing happened, almost the same age as the four victims.
Holley’s grandmother worked as a gravedigger for a portion of her life, and, according to him, she dug three of the four bombing victims’ graves. The shovels of Three Shovels to Bury You (fig.9), with their spades turned upright, have an anthropomorphized presence similar to Minter’s Chain Gang.
- Both a personal and historical memorial to the people of his hometown, the work serves as another example of how artists of the Birmingham-Bessemer School confront history in a coded manner. Fig.9.
- Lonnie Holley, Three Shovels to Bury You, 1998.
- Shovels, metal fence, found wood, and fabric.
- Photo by John Bentham, courtesy Souls Grown Deep Foundation and Community Partnership Historically, the consistent use of found materials in the work of the Birmingham-Bessemer School has been attributed to need: with a lack of economic resources, they were compelled to use what was readily available.
While this is partially true, these artists are also making very deliberate conceptual and aesthetic choices to further their own visions and artistic practices. Holley’s use of junk and found materials, in particular, needs to be properly understood within his own radical epistemology and the larger history of other black artists who worked with discards.
- What I’m doing here, I think Malcolm said it best: by any means necessary,” Holley states, “We can make art where we have to. Dr.
- Ing, if you remember, wrote a sermon on a piece of toilet paper.” In these statements, Holley connects black history to trash: not by lowering this history to the status of garbage, but instead by unlocking the subversive potential of junk through this association.
When Holley states that he makes art “by any means necessary,” he is also alluding to his use of lost or discarded materials. Using junk is a necessary means for Holley as an artist, a practice that grew not only out of a lack of traditional art materials, but also out of a recuperative desire to unlock the historical and aesthetic possibilities embedded in every object.
- The idea that Dr.
- Ing was not above using toilet paper in his own work, that in times of need even the lowliest of household objects was a worthy vessel for a sermon, clearly appealed to Holley.
- If toilet paper can contain a sermon, then anything can be used to create a work of art.
- The South, so often considered the backward and antimodern underbelly of the United States, was nevertheless a site of industrialization—especially the city of Birmingham.
As its history reveals, this modernity was built through the continued abuse and oppression of black Americans, a counter to any romantic notions of progress. To fully understand the work of the Birmingham-Bessemer School, Birmingham’s exceedingly violent modern history must be confronted.
- In this same vein, one must also confront the many unrealized promises of the Civil Rights Movement and the effects of deindustrialization, which led to the economic collapse of the area in the 1970s.
- It is plausible that part of the resistance to accepting these artists into the larger narratives of modern and contemporary art is due to the ugly historical circumstances that led to the group’s formation in the first place.
Their exclusion represents the general resistance in the United States to fully acknowledging the social and political realities that black citizens faced and continue to face. The city of Birmingham set the stage for the emergence of artists such as Holley, Minter, Lockett, and Dial.
With its systematically unequal, exploitative, and racist labor practices, its association with the most violent tragedies of the Civil Rights Movement, and its continued economic challenges, Birmingham exists as a constant reminder of the casualties of economic development and how racial equality is far from having been achieved.
Each artist of the Birmingham-Bessemer School uniquely addresses this history through varying media and conceptual orientations. Collectively, they have turned this difficult and challenging past into difficult and challenging art; the school’s story is ultimately one about black self-determination.
To borrow a quotation by the historian Robin D.G. Kelley, perhaps the history of Birmingham can best be characterized as: “Here you are watching Western Civilization. It emerges as Modern as can be, but is the best example of Barbarism you’ve ever seen.” Speaking in eloquent and subversive visual languages, the work of the Birmingham-Bessemer School reveals the barbaric underside of modernity—but only to viewers willing to crack the codes.
Cite this article: Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, “Magic City Modern: A Short History of the Birmingham-Bessemer School,” Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art 6, no.1 (Spring 2020), https://doi.org/10.24926/24716839.9831.
PDF: Notes About the Author(s): Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander is Assistant Curator of American Art at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University
: Magic City Modern: A Short History of the Birmingham-Bessemer School
Why do they call it Magic city?
Well, it LOOKS magical, anyway. Miami You could call Miami the Magic City for any number of reasons. Because of its spectacular sunsets, its balmy breezes, its warm waters. Or maybe because of the way traffic materializes magically everywhere on every highway at 4 p.m.
- Google the question, and results say the city’s rapid growth is the inspiration.
- Maybe northerners were surprised that so many people wanted to live in a malarial swamp before the advent of air conditioning.
- But what’s so magical about people not wanting to freeze their butts off from November until April? That’s just good common sense.
Miami historian Dr. Paul George knows the truth. The name, he says, is a perfect example of Miami hyperbole. Henry Flagler, founder of the Florida East Coast Railway and developer of Florida’s east coast, needed to lure unsuspecting northerners to the land of humidity, the mosquito and giant flying Palmetto bugs.
- He told writer E.V.
- Blackman to write a “strong, positive story” about Miami for Flagler’s magazine East Coast Homeseeker.
- He may or may not have suggested that Blackman, a New Yorker who fought in the Civil War, not dwell on the malarial swamp factor.
- So Blackman wrote an article referring to Miami as “the Magic City.” Like many Florida stories, there may have been a bit of a swindle involved.
George says Blackman may have borrowed the name from Birmingham, Alabama, which billed itself as “the Magic City of the South.” All these years later, we still call Miami the Magic City. And by “we” I mean Chamber of Commerce types, a local casino and a short-lived TV series about mobsters. This Jan.22, 1912, photo shows Henry Flagler, right, and his wife Mary Lily Unknown AP This story was originally published December 5, 2017, 12:12 AM.
What is known as Magic city?
Miami, “The Magic City” – Getty Images Miami essentially became a city overnight. As people flocked to the area more than a century ago looking for land, they relied on the Miami River for food and the area earned its nickname “The Magic City” for how fast it turned into its own urban center, according to the official Miami website,
When was Birmingham named Magic city?
|City of Birmingham
|Right to left, from Top: Downtown, Vulcan statue, 16th Street Baptist Church, City Hall, Alabama Theatre, and the Birmingham Museum of Art
|Flag Seal Logo
|Nickname(s): “The Magic City”, “Pittsburgh of the South”
|Location in Jefferson County, Alabama
|Birmingham Location in the United States
|Coordinates: 33°31′03″N 86°48′34″W / 33.51750°N 86.80944°W
|December 19, 1871
|Birmingham, United Kingdom
|Mayor – Council
|Randall Woodfin ( D )
|149.54 sq mi (387.31 km 2 )
|147.02 sq mi (380.77 km 2 )
|2.52 sq mi (6.53 km 2 )
|597 ft (182 m)
|Population ( 2020 )
|• Estimate (2021)
|124th in the United States 2nd in Alabama
|1,365.37/sq mi (527.17/km 2 )
|774,956 ( US: 58th )
|• Urban density
|1,521.7/sq mi (587.5/km 2 )
|1,115,289 ( 50th )
|UTC−6 ( CST )
|• Summer ( DST )
|35201-35224, 35226, 35228-35229, 35231-35238, 35242-35244, 35246, 35249, 35253-35255, 35259-35261, 35266, 35270, 35282-35283, 35285, 35287-35288, 35290-35298
|I-20, I-22, I-59, I-65, and I-459
|Birmingham–Shuttlesworth International Airport
|GNIS feature ID
Birmingham ( BUR -ming-ham ) is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama, Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama’s most populous county. As of the 2021 census estimates, Birmingham had a population of 197,575, down 1% from the 2020 Census, making it Alabama’s third-most populous city after Huntsville and Montgomery,
- The broader Birmingham metropolitan area had a 2020 population of 1,115,289, and is the largest metropolitan area in Alabama as well as the 50th-most populous in the United States.
- Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.
Birmingham was founded in 1871, during the post- Civil War Reconstruction period, through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, notably, Elyton, It grew from there, annexing many more of its smaller neighbors, into an industrial and railroad transportation center with a focus on mining, the iron and steel industry, and railroading,
- Birmingham was named after Birmingham, England, one of the UK ‘s major industrial cities.
- Most of the original settlers who founded Birmingham were of English ancestry,
- The city may have been planned as a place where cheap, non-unionized, and often African-American labor from rural Alabama could be employed in the city’s steel mills and blast furnaces, giving it a competitive advantage over industrial cities in the Midwest and Northeast,
From its founding through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South, The pace of Birmingham’s growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City and The Pittsburgh of the South, Much like Pittsburgh, Birmingham’s major industries were iron and steel production, plus a major component of the railroading industry, where rails and railroad cars were both manufactured in Birmingham.
- In the field of railroading, the two primary hubs of railroading in the Deep South were nearby Atlanta and Birmingham, beginning in the 1860s and continuing through to the present day.
- The economy diversified during the later half of the twentieth century.
- Though the manufacturing industry maintains a strong presence in Birmingham, other businesses and industries such as banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education, and insurance have risen in stature.
Mining in the Birmingham area is no longer a major industry with the exception of coal mining. Birmingham ranks as one of the most important business centers in the Southeastern United States and is also one of the largest banking centers in the United States.
- In addition, the Birmingham area serves as headquarters to one Fortune 500 company: Regions Financial, along with five other Fortune 1000 companies.
- In higher education, Birmingham has been the location of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine (formerly the Medical College of Alabama) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry since 1947.
In 1969 the University of Alabama at Birmingham was established, one of three main campuses of the University of Alabama System, Birmingham is also home to three private institutions: Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, and Miles College,
Why is Magic City famous?
In popular culture – Several rap and hip-hop songs mention Magic City, including “Strip Club” by The 2 Live Crew, “Magic City Monday” by Jeezy and “Magic” by Future. The reference to “Monday” is because Magic City is “supposedly the Holy Grail of Atlanta strip clubs on Monday nights”. In July 2015, GQ released a documentary Magic City about the strip club, directed by Lauren Greenfield,
What city is The Magic City?
Miami, The Magic City Just one month after its incorporation in 1896, the City of Miami adopted its enduring moniker, the Magic City, which is appropriate for a city that has developed almost magically and uniquely in a relatively brief period. Featuring images from the late 1800s through the 1980s, the exhibition before you draws on HistoryMiami Museum’s vast treasure trove of photographs, and peers into the many layers of life and activities that have shaped Miami over time, enabling us to appreciate the sharp changes in its development and direction, and understand its uniqueness among American cities.
These photographs inform us of Miami’s recent pioneer past, of the quickening development following its birth and the natural disasters that slowed, but failed to halt this progress, of its glitz and glamour as a tourist mecca, of transportation modes linking the area to destinations near and far, of an area ideally suited for military training in wartime, of protests across a broad spectrum of causes, of a growing historic preservation movement that has changed the destinies of neighborhoods and even municipalities, of immigrants and refugees who helped catapult Miami and the area into the ranks of international cities, of eye-catching crimes and high drama.
Together, these elements represent the ingredients that have made this unique slice of the subtropics the Magic City. Paul S. George Resident Historian, HistoryMiami Museum : Miami, The Magic City
What is Magic City USA?
The history behind how Miami came to be ‘The Magic City’ Miami’s most enduring element is its nickname, “The Magic City,” which has been a part of its story since the early days following the incorporation of the City of Miami in July 1896. Incorporation came on the heels of the entry of Henry M.
Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway in April 1896. A tiny community, with just nine persons living along the mouth of the Miami River in 1895, Miami was positioned, with the entry of the railroad and its consequent connection to points north, to grow quickly into one of Florida’s most important cities.
Ethan V. Blackman is responsible for Miami’s moniker, The Magic City, which came within weeks of its incorporation. Thirty years after Miami’s incorporation, Blackman reflected on his selection of the sobriquet. To a reporter from the Miami Daily News, the city’s first newspaper, originally called the Miami Metropolis, Blackman explained: “What inspired me to call Miami” the Magic City was “the enthusiasm of Mr.
- Flagler plus a blue print of the city.
- You see the time I wrote that phrase I had never even seen Miami.” Blackman, in fact, was living at the time in Daytona and working as a journalist when he received a request by letter from Henry Flagler in the late summer of 1896 to write an article about the new city of Miami for The Home Seeker, a Flagler magazine employed to market the railroad baron’s properties.
The blueprint of the city accompanying the letter “influenced Blackman to see the magic possibilities” for Miami. Blackman explaine: “In looking over the material, I got so enthusiastic over the possibilities of the city that bordered on the Gulf stream and faced the broad waters of Biscayne bay (sic), that I referred to it as ‘the Magic City.’ That article was printed in “‘The Home Seeker'” (For the record, Birmingham, AL already was calling itself “The Magic City of the South.”) Shortly after this article appeared, Flagler appointed Blackman editor of The Home Seeker, a position he held for 16 years.
- In the same interview, Blackman reflected on his first impressions of the crude, undeveloped settlement he found, but loved anyway, explaining: “I found everything that I had sought, since my primary purpose in coming here (Miami) was to find health.
- There was the balmy air, the beauties of the bay and sky and the wonderful palm trees.
“From the first moment when I looked out over the waters of Biscayne Bay, I knew that Miami would remain — if I could make it, the Magic City. So I talked and thought and wrote ‘Miami, the Magic City’ and the name stuck and the town grew as the phrase stirred the curiosity of the outside world and it came to see.” Blackman also was a Methodist minister who soon moved to Miami and became one of the young city’s most important chroniclers.
- He lived in the Riverside Heights neighborhood in a striking Belvedere Bungalow home three blocks south of today Miami Marlins ballpark.
- Blackman believed the moniker assisted in Miami’s rising recognition and growth, while he was one of the young city’s most enthusiastic champions.
- Blackman explained, “While I was writing Miami, ‘the Magic City’ and mailing it to all parts of the country, people read the catchy line and then read more to find out what the magic was.
There is something in the word ‘magic’ that catches the attention of everyone and they wanted to know what it was that was almost too good to be true. So it was they came to Miami to find out. “Once here, they found the warm air, the palm trees and flowers that seem like fairyland to most people.
- They also found the men of action with the zest for life, belief in great things and those other qualities that made it possible for Mr.
- Flagler and men like him to perform feats that might well have baffled (others)” As Blackman believed, the nickname for the neophyte city quickly caught on.
- The Official Directory of the City of Miami and Nearby Towns for 1904 devoted a full page to the term “Miami The Magic City.” In the 1910s, the Magic City Dredge Company was at work in Biscayne Bay.
The Magic City Coronet Band, based in the city’s segregated quarter, Colored Town (today’s Overtown), was active in World War I in support of the war effort, which included the sale of war bonds to help finance the cost of the United States’ involvement in the conflict.
On Armistice Day, Nov.11, 1918, the Magic City Coronet Band kicked off the wild celebration of the war’s ending by marching and performing along Twelfth Street, later called Flagler Street, the main thoroughfare in the downtown sector of the city. At the same time, Magic City Motor Company was operating in Downtown Miami, along with the Magic City Transfer Company.
The nickname continues to appear and resonate with great regularity, an admirable feat for an ever-evolving city whose history should be written in short paragraphs because of the accelerated changes that define and redefine it. Paul S. George, PhD, serves as Resident Historian, HistoryMiami Museum.
He conducts history tours throughout the county and even beyond for HistoryMiami. Additionally, he teaches classes in Miami/S. Florida and Florida history for the museum. Dr. George also has led, since 2002, tours of Little Havana as part of Viernes Culturales, a monthly celebration, held every third Friday, of the culture and history of that quarter.
The tours are open to all and are free. : The history behind how Miami came to be ‘The Magic City’
What is the nickname for Birmingham Alabama?
Birmingham, Alabama- The Magic City – Robbie Caponetto During the height of the country’s manufacturing boom, Birmingham became the South’s hub for steel production, which spurred rapid population growth. The city was dubbed The Magic City because of the quick rise in population and opportunity in the city.
Where are Magic City hippies from?
✨A mosaic of poolside grooves and lingering, sun-kissed melodies ✨ Est 2015, Miami FL Magic City Hippies is: Robby Hunter, Pat Howard, John Coughlin Shades on and shirts unbuttoned, Magic City Hippies generate the kind of heat that could’ve powered a high seas yacht party in the seventies or shake a Coachella stage next summer.
- If the trio—Robby Hunter, Pat Howard, and John Coughlin—stepped off the screen from some long-lost Quentin Tarantino flick in slow-motion (instruments in hand), nobody would question it.
- Embracing everything from AM radio rock and poolside pop to nimble raps and salsa, they lock into an era-less vibe with no shortage of funk or hooks.
The three-piece deliver the kind of bangers you can play on the way to the party, during the party, and to smooth over the comedown as the sun comes up. As the guys so eloquently describe it, they “give people a choice to enjoy this on the surface level, feel funky in their bodies, and danceor go deeper into the music,
” As legend has it, the origin of Magic City Hippies can be traced back to Robby’s days of permit-less busking in Miami. Eventually, Pat and John proved to be better accompaniment than his loop pedal, so the trio played regular bar gigs and built an audience locally. They formed as Robby Hunter Band, released the Magic City Hippies album, and adopted the title as their name.
That LP gained traction in 2013 with syncs on The CW’s iZombie and Showtime’s Ray Donovan, On its heels, 2015’s Hippie Castle EP catalyzed their breakout as ” Limestone ” piled up over 20 million Spotify streams followed by ” Fanfare ” with another 19 million Spotify streams.
They toured endlessly and moved crowds at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Hulaween, Okeechobee Fest, Electric Forest, and Austin City Limits, to name a few. Along the way, the band also picked up acclaim from Relix and OnesToWatch as they dropped the fan favorite Modern Animal in 2019. When the world shutdown, the boys settled in different parts of the country (Rob “doing his Johny Mayer thing” in Bozeman, MT, Pat in Los Angeles, CA, and John still in Miami).
Remotely, they wrote an album’s worth of new songs. As things opened back up, the musicians put it all together in person, and began teasing out their new bounty to fans. During summer 2021 they released 5 singles, keeping their fans well fed with a slew of new auditory delights.
Why is Birmingham called the Black city?
Depiction in art or literature – From the 19th century onwards, the area gained widespread notoriety for its hellish appearance, a depiction that made its way into the published works of the time. ‘s novel, written in 1841, described how the area’s local factory chimneys “Poured out their plague of smoke, obscured the light, and made foul the melancholy air”.
In 1862,, the American Consul in Birmingham, described the region as “black by day and red by night”, because of the smoke and grime generated by the intense manufacturing activity and the glow from furnaces at night. Early 20th century representations of the region can be found in the Mercian novels of Francis Brett Young, most notably (1928).
Carol Thompson the curator “The Making of Mordor” at in the last quarter of 2014 stated that ‘s description of the grim region of “resonates strongly with contemporary accounts of the Black Country”, in his famed novel, Indeed, in the Elvish language, Mor-Dor means Dark (or Black ) Land,
What happened to The Magic City?
It’s time to say goodbye to the Miramar Playa. Magic City, the Starz television drama created by native Miamian Mitch Glazer, will end after its second season, the network announced yesterday. This Friday’s season finale will mark its final episode. See also: – Miami-Made Magic City Glams Up Miami Film Festival (Video) – Six Reasons Why Magic City Will Be Your New Favorite Show The series launched just over a year ago, in the spring of 2012, with plenty of buzz stemming from stars like Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Danny Houston.
- Billed as a hybrid of Mad Men and The Sopranos, Magic City focused on the seedy underworld beneath the operations of a flashy hotel on Miami Beach in a time of turbulent politics in South Florida.
- Glazer grew up in Miami, hanging out in the same hotels where his father worked.
- The stories he collected there helped to inform the plot and style of Magic City,
“The stories of this place stayed with me,” he told New Times, “I’ve kept these stories, and I’ve used a lot of them already.” Glazer and his team set up a filming headquarters in a former boat-building warehouse near Miami International Airport, including a lifelike replica of the Fontainebleau hotel lobby as it looked in the late 1950s.
- Smaller sets were constructed in other parts of the warehouse, and the series filmed on location in Miami often as well.
- If you saw yellow signs instructing “MC crew” on where to park around town, you knew there was a film location nearby.
- Before the first season had premiered, Starz announced it had ordered a second season of the show, which many took as a sign of faith in a long-lasting tv series.
It seemed to have all the essential parts of a successful premium cable drama: sex, violence, gangsters, opulent lifestyles, retro style. But Magic City failed to connect with viewers, even here in Miami. Beyond the first couple episodes, buzz around the story of Ike Evans and his struggle to keep his hotel afloat faded.
Who made Magic City?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Country of origin
|No. of seasons
|No. of episodes
|16 ( list of episodes )
|Media Talent Group South Beach Productions
|March 30, 2012 – August 9, 2013
Magic City is an American drama television series created by Mitch Glazer for the Starz network. The pilot episode previewed on Starz March 30, 2012, and premiered April 6, 2012. Starz renewed the series for an eight-episode second season on March 20, 2012, and canceled it August 5, 2013, after two seasons.
How do I find Magic City?
You are able to stream Magic City by renting or purchasing on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, and Vudu.
Why did they stop Magic City?
Magic City: Starz CEO Explains Cancellation While fans of Magic City are understandably upset by the show’s, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht recently explained that the decision wasn’t a difficult one when it came to finances. At the TCA press tour, he said, “It was a fine show but it was extremely expensive.
- It had decent audience but distributors weren’t interested in co-marketing it with us, and we felt season two had a pretty reasonable and satisfying landing spot.” revolves around the world of Miami’s Miramar Playa Hotel in 1959.
- The TV series stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, and Danny Huston, with Steven Strait, Christian Cooke, Jessica Marais, Yul Vazquez, Dominik Garcia-Lorido, Kelly Lynch, and Elena Satine.
Did you like Magic City? Would you liked to have seen a third season? : Magic City: Starz CEO Explains Cancellation
Is Orlando called the Magic City?
1985–1986: Team creation – In September 1985, Orlando businessman Jim L. Hewitt approached Philadelphia 76ers general manager Pat Williams as they met in Texas on his idea of bringing an NBA team to Orlando. Intrigued by the potential of an Orlando -based NBA team, Williams became the front man of the investment group one year later, after he left the 76ers,
On June 19, 1986, the two held a news conference to announce their intention of seeking an NBA franchise. At the same time, Hewitt and Williams decided to hold a contest in the Orlando Sentinel newspaper to get names for their new franchise. Out of a total of 4,296 submitted entries, the names were subsequently narrowed to four, “Heat”, “Tropics”, “Juice”, and “Magic”.
The last one, which had been submitted by 11 people, was picked after Williams brought his 7-year-old daughter Karyn to visit in Orlando. On July 27, 1986, it was announced that the committee chose the Magic to be the new name of the Orlando franchise in the NBA.
The name “Magic” alludes to the area’s biggest tourist attraction and economic engine Walt Disney World, along with its Magic Kingdom, highlighting its corporate theme of magic, Hewitt added that “You look at all the aspects of Central Florida, and you find it really is an exciting place, a magical place.” Many, including Williams himself at first, thought that Miami or Tampa were better locations in Florida for a franchise.
At the time, Orlando was a small city without a major airport or a suitable arena. Hewitt brought investors such as real estate developer William DuPont, Orlando Renegades owner Don Dizney, and Southern Fruit Citrus owners Jim and Steve Caruso, and talked the Orlando city officials into approving an arena project.
- Meanwhile, Williams gave presentations to NBA commissioner David Stern and the owners of the other teams of the league that the town was viable.
- In April, the franchise committee recommended expanding by three teams, with two of the slots going to Charlotte and Minneapolis-St. Paul,
- The recommendation put the Orlando bid in doubt, since it advised that the state of Florida should only be allocated one team as part of the three-team expansion.
This feedback put the planned Orlando franchise up against the Miami-based team, originally known as the Florida Heat and eventually named the Miami Heat, When both Miami and Orlando ownership groups made successful pitches, the expansion committee decided to expand by four teams, allowing both to have a franchise.
The Magic became the first-ever major-league professional sports franchise in the Orlando area, following an expansion fee of reportedly $32.5 million. They were one of the four new expansion franchises awarded by the NBA in 1987 along with the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves,
The Magic hired Matt Guokas as the team’s first coach, who helped the Magic select 12 players in the NBA Expansion Draft on June 15, 1989. On June 27, 1989, the Magic chose Nick Anderson with the 11th pick in the first round, who became the first draft pick of the franchise.
When did Miami start being called The Magic City?
Adoption of the Moniker – Figure 2: Royal Palm Hotel from Across Miami River While his description of the city was not nearly realized when it was published prior to Miami’s incorporation in 1896, Blackman’s first visit to the area did not deter him from what many would have considered a premature designation of “magical” to a town under construction.
He described what he saw as “nothing but palmetto and undergrowth over most of the city.” He went on to say that there were no accommodations to rent so he and his wife bought a houseboat and lived on Biscayne Bay until they could find “suitable habitation.” Despite the rustic nature of the area at the time, Blackman believed the Magic City was everything he expected when he reviewed the pictures and blueprint for the city.
He said that there was “the balmy air, the beauties of the bay and sky and the wonderful palm trees.” He was convinced more than ever to promote the nickname he gave it prior to arriving. From the time he arrived in 1896, every bit of correspondence and every article he authored referred to his adopted city as “Miami, the Magic City.” He reflected on his one-man campaign nearly thirty years after first printing the moniker and declared that “the name stuck, and the town grew as the phrase stirred the curiosity of the outside world who eventually came to see it.” Through the years, the nickname was printed consistently in advertisements in newspapers and magazines, and even on license plates.