Rebuild Bethel marches forward

05.13.2008 by André Natta · → Leave a comment

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Rebuild Bethel website screenshot

Screenshot of Rebuild Bethel campaign website. 

We haven’t heard a lot about historic Bethel Baptist Church in recent months – the historic building granted National Historic Landmark status in 2005 – not the congregation’s current structure – despite a pledge by Mayor Langford to provide up to $1 million in city funds towards its renovation. Hopefully that will change in the near future as efforts to complete this project continue in the city’s Collegeville neighborhood.

Bethel is revered by many as the birthplace of Birmingham’s civil rights movement and was the site of one of the more disturbing early scenes – a 1956 bombing of the church and its parsonage (one of three over a period of six years), occupied by the church’s minister Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.

Rev. Shuttlesworth survived the blast (many are still amazed when they see the images – some available on the campaign’s website) and went on to be an important figure in advances made in the city and the nation. The current congregation hopes that renovation will include not only the 1926 building but the installation of a memorial garden on the site of the former parsonage.

Check out the site and see how you can help.

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Filed under: architecture · history · Take a moment