Arts and Culture

Organist Hired by MLK Still Plays at Historic Church

The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church from 1954-1960. King hired an organist named Althea Thomas. More than 60 years later, Thomas still plays at the historic church.

A Fresh Look at the Man Considered Alabama’s First Historian

In 1851, Albert Pickett published what would become the definitive history of Alabama's early years. That history has had an update of sorts with a new annotated edition.

Alternative Events Planned To Recognize Birmingham Native Angela Davis

More developments came today in response to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's decision to cancel an award presentation for scholar and activist Angela Davis. The top three leaders on the Institute’s board resigned and another group announced alternative events to honor the Birmingham native.

Birmingham Poet Gives Voice to Enslaved Women

Dr. James Marion Sims, the man known as the father of modern gynecology, spent years performing surgery on women who experienced complications tied to difficult childbirth. This was in the 19th century at his makeshift hospital in Mt. Meigs, just outside of Montgomery. Sims, who is white, performed this experimental surgery on black enslaved women – without anesthesia. Birmingham author Kwoya Fagin Maples recently published a collection of poems meant to give voice to these forgotten women.

What’s Next in UAB Football’s Extraordinary Comeback

The UAB Blazers football team is on a roll. And commentators call it one of the biggest comeback stories of our time. Can the team keep it up and keep their coach?

New Birmingham Bar Owner Named National “Bartender of the Year”

Laura Newman was named the 2018 “Bartender of the Year” by the U.S. Bartenders Guild. She’s the first woman to earn the title, and she’s opening a new cocktail bar in downtown Birmingham called Queen’s Park.

Airline Lost Your Luggage? Here’s Where it Lands.

Airlines don't lose passenger luggage often. But it happens enough to keep the Unclaimed Baggage Center in business. That's a private company in Scottsboro that sells lost bags that aren't claimed for 90 days .

Composer Martin Kennedy Debuts Original Work: ‘Forest Dark and Stars Above’

Every year, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra features an up-and-coming composer. This season, it’s Alabama native Martin Kennedy. Thursday night, the orchestra gives the world premiere of Kennedy's Forest Dark and Stars Above. Kennedy spoke with WBHM's Michael Krall about his approach to composing. Their conversation began with Kennedy describing the piece and features some of Kennedy’s other music.

Birmingham Author’s Book Hits the Big Screen

A new thriller opens in theaters today. It’s about an American submarine captain on the hunt for a U.S. submarine in distress. The film “Hunter Killer” features some big names including Gerard Butler and Gary Oldman. It was adapted from a novel co-written by Birmingham author Don Keith.

Pelicans Will Bring NBA Affiliate Team to Birmingham

Birmingham is getting a pro basketball team. The NBA Pelicans are bringing a minor league affiliate, and they'll play at the BJCC Legacy Arena.

Birmingham Poet uses a “House” to Explore her Personal Loss

Five years ago, Birmingham poet Emma Bolden faced an excruciating decision. She was 33. She wasn’t married and had no children, but she was considering a hysterectomy because of decades of health issues. That decision and the subsequent surgery became a theme for her latest collection of poems called “House is an Enigma.”

Birmingham Public Library Atmosphere ‘Toxic’ ‘Hostile,’ Employees Say. Leadership ‘Not for Faint of Heart,’ New Director Responds

Nearly 20 Birmingham Public Library employees addressed the library’s board of directors Tuesday night, expressing concern over what they described as a “hostile” work environment that has emerged under the library’s new leadership.

Former Birmingham Black Barons Pitcher Remembers ’48 Negro League World Series

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the Birmingham Black Barons’ appearance in what would become the last Negro League World Series ever played. The 1948 team was considered the greatest Black Barons team of all-time and was made up of legends like Bill Greason. Greason was a pitcher who broke the color barrier with the Oklahoma City Indians and later played briefly in the Major League. The 94-year-old tells WBHM’s Janae Pierre about that final Negro League World Series against the Washington Homestead Grays.

‘Rosies’ Featured at Vulcan for Museum Day

The Smithsonian Magazine has its 14th annual “Museum Day” this Saturday. That means free admission to thousands of museums around the country. Here in Birmingham, one participating museum—Vulcan Park & Museum—is putting a twist on the Smithsonian’s them: Women Making History. Casey Gamble is Vulcan’s museum coordinator. She tells WBHM’s Janae Pierre how they plan to incorporate Rosie the Riveter for this year’s event.

Birmingham Times Founder Recognized Among Black PR Pioneers

Alabama native, Jesse Lewis Sr. is recognized as a publishing and marketing trailblazer in the South. In the early 50s, Lewis founded the first minority-owned public relations firm in the U.S. His very first client was the Birmingham Coca Cola Bottling Company. With their support, Lewis founded the Birmingham Times in 1964. For most of his career, he focused on marketing to African American consumers, a demographic he says was completely ignored during that time. The 93 year old was recently recognized among Black PR Pioneers at the Museum of Public Relations in New York.

A New Play Explores Race Through A 1951 Birmingham Basketball Court

The play "Separate and Equal" by University of Alabama Professor Seth Panitch centers on a hypothetical basketball game between black and white teens in 1951 Birmingham -- a game that would have been illegal.

Sidewalk Film Festival Returns for its 20th Year

The 20th Sidewalk Film Festival opens Friday in downtown Birmingham. A look back at the early years from someone who helped get it off the ground.

Birmingham Restaurant Week Sometimes A Deal

Birmingham Restaurant Week is in full swing. At several restaurants across the city, diners choose from a prix-fixe menu – that’s several courses at a fixed price. But with crowded restaurants and a limited menu … is it really worth it?

James “Jake” Sanders, Negro League Star

Segregation shut out ballplayers like James “Jake” Sanders from ballparks and the major leagues, but it didn’t quell his passion for the game. He attended the same high school in Fairfield as Willie Mays and went on to star in the Negro League. These days, Sanders travels the country telling the history of the league to school kids so the stories don’t get lost.

Birmingham Student Wins National Poetry Award

Alabama School of Fine Arts senior Daniel Blokh was named a National Student Poet earlier this month. He's one of five students in the country to win the honor.

Sloss’ Summer Program Teaches Traditions of Metal Art

This summer, a dozen young people learned the techniques and traditions of metal art during Sloss' Summer Youth Apprenticeship.

Promoting Humanities in a Math and Science World

Listen to Alabama politicians talk about education and you’ll hear about workforce development. They say schools should focus on math and science to help industry grow. There’s less emphasis on music or literature. That concerns John Parrish Peede. The Mississippi native became chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities earlier this year.

Sloss Fest Becomes Sensory Inclusive

The Sloss Music & Arts Festival is this weekend! Organizers recently announced this year's event will be certified "sensory inclusive." It's meant to attract individuals with autism and other disabilities.

Uncertain Immigration Policy Takes a Toll on Area Youth

There have been a series of developments in recent weeks on immigration policy and a lot of uncertainty around the fate of undocumented residents. That's rubbing off on children in Alabama.

Birmingham’s Love Moor is Grabbing Ears Beyond the Magic City

Birmingham singer Love Moor has been attracting attention around the Magic City. But she's pushing beyond her hometown, including an appearance at South by Southwest this spring.

Birmingham Student Puts Braille Skills to the Test

Birmingham-area student Rachel Hyche will compete this weekend in the Braille Challenge. It's her second trip to the finals in Los Angeles.

Living History: Nurse to George Washington Carver an Inventor Herself

Meloneze Robinson of Tuskegee has witnessed history, and as a nurse, she's made some of her own. She cared for inventor George Washington Carver at the end of his life. Fifteen years later, she patented a surgical device after assisting with amputations at the former Tuskegee Veterans Hospital.

An Alternative to Delivering Babies at the Hospital

Alabama has the second-highest infant mortality rate in the nation. And more rural hospitals are closing. Now some physicians and nonprofits say birth centers are a way to provide cheaper and safer prenatal care and delivery.

A Forgotten Civil Rights Battle — Public Libraries

Protests from the civil rights movement centered on lunch counters, buses or the voting booth. But one often forgotten battle was over public libraries.

Museum Exhibit Gives a View of 1930s Birmingham

The exhibit Magic City Realism, a collection of etchings at the Birmingham Museum of Art, shows life in Birmingham during the Great Depression.

When Your Child Isn’t the Child You Expected

Sometimes children turn out differently than parents had hoped or expected. Writer and psychologist Andrew Solomon, author of Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, looked at how parents manage to find profound meaning in raising exceptional children.

Birmingham Columnist Takes Journalism’s Top Prize

For the first time in eleven years, Birmingham has a Pulitzer Prize winner. Alabama Media Group columnist John Archibald won the Pulitzer for commentary Monday.