A public memorial for James Griffin will be held tonight at Urban Standard in downtown Birmingham. Griffin was homeless and beloved by many people throughout the city. He was found dead under Caraway Boulevard on August 17.
Known as “Street James”, the 59 year old Griffin struck a chord with those who came to know him. AL.com reports, local business owners said he was a fixture downtown and that he was homeless by choice, not by circumstances.
“You’re just in there and you sleeping with 100 guys in one room cramped up-coughing, sneezing, farting all of that –all through the night—that ain’t me. I’d rather live in a box,” says Griffin in a 2011 documentary.
“He could be loud and bawdy, he could be soft spoken uh it was just an interesting character and he always had an angle,” says Steve Gilmore, the owner of What’s on Second. He says there was something that endeared Griffin to just about everybody that he ran into. “He could come at the wrong time and you just dread seeing him come in the door but by and large I thought of him as something of a friend-something of a neighbor in this downtown area.”
Griffin was shot in the arm and apparently died from his injury. No arrests have been made.