City leaders say 50 Years Forward events are a boon to the econo

City leaders say 50 Years Forward events are a boon to the economy

Posted: Updated:
Crews preparing for events in Kelly Ingram Park. Source: WBRC video Crews preparing for events in Kelly Ingram Park. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Fifty years ago this week an act of domestic terrorism killed four girls and put Birmingham in the national spotlight.

The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church was a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.

Now, 50 Years Forward, dignitaries and celebrities from across the county are converging on Birmingham to mark the anniversary of the bombing.

The city is calling it Empowerment Week and it's turning out to be a major money maker for the city.

"Quite a few celebs in town, couldn't be more excited," Garfield Campbell with The Westin said.

Campbell says Birmingham's Empowerment Week has been good for business.

"We'll start seeing people trickle in tomorrow, by Wednesday a nice crowd," Campbell.

All 294 rooms are booked and The Sheraton is filling up quickly, all with folks coming to town for the events commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the 1963 Civil Rights Movement.

"What we are excited about is the City Fest Friday night, which is free to our guests and the public," Campbell said.

At Kelly Ingram Park crews were setting up a stage getting ready for the activities.

Hundreds are expected to fill up hotels and spend money eating at restaurants this week. Mayor William Bell expected the celebrations to bring a significant economic boost.

"It's putting Birmingham on the map from an economic stand point by inviting visitors to see who we are today and not be judged by who we were 50 years ago," Bell said.

Mayor Bell talked about some of the well known people to look for.

"We're especially pleased to have Bill Cobsy here to host a summit. Jamie Foxx will host an event on Saturday evening...he'll be attending other activities," Bell said.

He says members of the congressional delegation from Washington, D.C. will be here as well as several mayors from cities like Philadelphia, New Orleans and Sacramento.

The mayor says Condoleezza Rice is hosting a summit, there's an outdoor Diversity Fest and the unveiling of the monument for the "Four Little Girls" killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

For a complete list of events you can go to www.50yearsforward.com.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow