2023 Forging Justice Commemoration

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The City of Birmingham and partners to commemorate 60 years since Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing


Click here for the calendar of events for

2023 Forging Justice Commemoration Week!




The City of Birmingham commemorating 60 years since the 1963 Birmingham campaign for civil and human rights

For the entire year of 2023, the City of Birmingham – in partnership with area churches, arts organizations, activists, businesses and nonprofits –  will honor the challenges, lessons and triumphs of the 1963 Birmingham civil and human rights movement. The 60th commemoration will include programs, events, workshops, and entertainment that will be open to the entire community. 

“The eyes of the world were on Birmingham in 1963 while a battle was waged for the equal rights of all of its residents,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “We plan to spend 2023 remembering and reflecting on the people and events that helped to break down segregation not only in Birmingham, but in our country.”   






September 2023 Theme: “We Remember”

September is the month we reflect upon the Four Little Girls who lost their lives in the 16th Street Church bombing. September’s poster is themed “We Remember” and features an artistic collage of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Morris Wesley. Free copies of this month’s poster are available in city hall.




Forging Justice from 1963 until today and beyond

The year 1963 was pivotal in our history, featuring several marches and demonstrations as African Americans demanded the rights promised to them as American citizens. Youth as young as eight years-old participated in a Children’s Crusade where youngsters marched and were jailed for freedom. Under the leadership of college students, a selective buying campaign was launched where Black residents only bought from businesses that provided equal access to all. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and penned his famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” Domestic terrorism also rocked the city. The A.G. Gaston Motel was bombed on Mother’s Day, and on Sept. 15, 1963, four little girls were killed in a tragic bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church.

The theme for the year is “Forging Justice.” Birmingham is known for its steel production and also its racial past. Today, however, just like steel melds together different elements to make a singular strong force, the city has worked to forge relationships among all races, religions, ethnicities and creeds.  

The City’s role in the commemoration will be to highlight and support the number of programs taking place during the year. Planned events include the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing commemoration, the Children’s March reenactment, a national convention of Black journalists, concerts, exhibits, a healing conference, and tributes to Dr. King and the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth. Birmingham also will host peacemakers from around the world with the International Peace Conference & Peace Week on May 1-5, 2023.   

“2023 marks a major milestone in Birmingham’s history,” said Denise Gilmore, senior director of the division of Social Justice and Racial Equity. “We have an opportunity to reflect on the past while standing united in the continued pursuit of civil and human rights. Our collective work ensures that Birmingham will be an enduring light to the world.”  

“In addition to reflecting on the past, we also are excited to show the world how far our city has come, not only in race relations, but also in technology, medicine, banking, and culinary excellence,” Mayor Woodfin said.  


Each month will feature a theme that will help to guide programming:  

  • January – Unity 
  • February – Black Resistance  
  • March – Women 
  • April – Clergy 
  • May – Children and Youth 
  • June – Restorative Justice  
  • July – Environmental Justice  
  • August – Storytelling  
  • September – Civil and Human Rights 
  • October – Social Justice 
  • November – Arts and Culture 
  • December – Economic Opportunity























Please visit Birmingham 365

  • for information on events throughout the year.

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