In 1963, African-Americans in Birmingham, Alabama protested discrimination with daily demonstrations in public facilities and sit-ins at lunch counters. According to historian James Patterson, “More than any event to that time, it forced Americans to sit up and take notice.” In the weeks that followed, there were more than 750 demonstrations in cities across the South resulting in more than 10,000 arrests.
Those events in Birmingham sparked what some have called the movement that changed the world. It is a movement whose iconic images are burned into the psyche of all Americans. A firing line of water hoses…. German Shepherds attacking protestors…… a letter from a Birmingham jail and a devastating explosion.
2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. The documentary, Preserving Justice, focuses on the important events that took place in 1963 and tells the lesser-known stories of that year. These stories document the extraordinary role played by members of Birmingham’s legal community and the profound impact they had on the Civil Rights Movement. The film shows how unified efforts of civil rights activists and daring members of the legal community in Birmingham helped create a new city, state and nation to inspire the next generation of lawyers and judges.
Produced by The Center for Public Television and Radio, the award-winning multi-media production center housed at the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, Preserving Justice honors legal champions who have rightfully earned their place in history and shares their stories with audiences across the nation.
Preserving Justice is a joint project of the Birmingham Bar Foundation, the Magic City Bar Association and the Birmingham Bar Association and is part of the Journey for Justice Project that commemorates individual attorneys and judges who fought to end racial inequality by using their education and knowledge to challenge unfair practices and laws and force compliance with the United States Constitution.
The documentary premiered at a gala event in Birmingham on May 4, 2013. It was produced by Michael Letcher and Amy Eifler Martin. Cinematography was by Robert Clay and Preston Sullivan. It was edited by Jazz Franklin and myself and Amy Eifler Martin put in a good bit of editing time also. Graphics by Alex Beatty.