where a 300-pound information sign fell and killed a white kid from Kansas?
Well, the airport was renamed in 2008 for "civil rights" icon Fred Shuttlesworth, a man whose greatest claim to fame was agitating for black equality [Airport name change OK'd; will honor Shuttlesworth, Birmingham News, 7-16-2008]. Of course, "black equality" in Birmingham means voting down support for the Honda-Indy Grand Prix because there are few black faces at the event [Birmingham withdraws request to support Honda-Indy Grand Prix, Fox 6 Birmingham, 4-3-13]
The Honda-Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will not get financial support from the city of Birmingham.
On Tuesday, Mayor William Bell withdrew a request for $300,000 to host and promote the race at the Barber Motorsports Park.This is the beauty of the civil rights movement, with the victory of Fred Shuttlesworth's people making them completely immune from criticism.
Steven Hoyt questioned why a city with a black majority should continue to give money to support the Barber Motorsport track, saying decisions at Barber were not made by anyone who "looked like him."
Well, a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights cares little for the actual civil engineering of the airport in Birmingham, but he's happy as a clam about it being renamed in honor of Mr. Shuttlesworth [Birmingham airport lauded as strong example by federal official in Huffington Post column, Birmingham News, 1-17-13]:
The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport left a strong impression on a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights who cited it as a strong example of a city highlighting an important local figure.
In a column in the Huffington Post, Michael Yaki praised the city's renaming of the airport in honor of the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth.
Yaki was in Birmingham last summer for a Civil Rights Commission hearing.
Yaki wrote that seeing Shuttlesworth's name on an airport welcome sign last year made him seek more information about Birmingham's most prominent civil rights leader.
"I wondered what a "Shuttlesworth" was, and filed it away in the back of my mind. I knew the name was familiar, but in my three-flights-to-get-there fog I just couldn't access the right synaptic pathway," he wrote.
Yaki found answers later that day during a visit to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute where an entire display was devoted to Shuttlesworth.
"He survived bombings, attacks and a constant barrage of death threats with dignity, grace, and unswerving courage," he wrote.
Birmingham officials in 2008 rechristened the airport to honor Shuttlesworth, who had recently returned to live here after decades in Cincinnati.
The renaming effort was the idea of then-Mayor Larry Langford and was quickly endorsed by the City Council and the Birmingham Airport Authority board.
''For the civil rights icon, there is no greater honor this city could give him than to make the Birmingham International Airport the Fred Shuttlesworth International Airport,'' Langford said at the time. ''I can't think of anyone outside of Dr. King who did more to change the climate in Birmingham, Alabama, than Rev. Shuttlesworth.''
Yaki noted that the name change was done while Shuttlesworth was still alive. He died in 2011 at age 89.
Yaki's column was written to support the remaining of San Francisco's airport to honor Harvey Milk, that city's slain councilman and gay rights activist. Yaki said his city should follow Birmingham's example.
"As Shuttlesworth was to Birmingham, so is Milk to San Francisco," his Huffington Post column concludes. "And both left legacies far beyond the borders of the cities to which they are both irrevocably linked."Luke Bresette is dead, but in the eyes of those who run the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, all that matters is the airport is named after one Fred Shuttlesworth.
But here's the best story: OD noted that the almost entirely black Birmingham City Council voted against giving the Honda Grand Prix $300,000 (which attracts $80 million in economic growth to the area), but they had no problem giving $20,000 for a three-day funeral - which was never paid - for Mr. Shuttlesworth funeral [Shuttlesworth funeral bill unpaid a year later, foundation asks city to keep promise, Birmingham News, 2-4-13]:
The funeral bill for the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth remains unpaid more than a year after the death of Birmingham's celebrated civil rights leader.
Meanwhile, the city refuses to pay the remainder of a $20,000 pledge to the foundation founded by his widow to memorialize his legacy.
Mayor William Bell and the City Council approved a resolution giving $20,000 to the Fred Shuttlesworth Foundation, a nonprofit group founded by Sephira Shuttlesworth shortly before her husband's death.
The foundation's namesake died weeks after the Sept. 2011 resolution. Three days of funeral activities followed.
The city paid $10,050 for catering and public relations expenses associated with the three-day funeral event. Shuttlesworth also was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, a city owned burial ground. The remaining $9,950 authorized by the city remains unreleased.
Members of the foundation said they don't understand why Bell and his staff refuse to pay what was promised. Bell's office said the city has fulfilled its commitment and paid all allowable expenses associated with the foundation.
Rather than a direct cash contribution as stated in the resolution, Bell's office told the foundation to submit invoices for expenses, with the understanding that the city would contribute up to the agreed $20,000.
That commitment did not include funeral expenses, said Jarvis Patton, Bell's chief of operations. Patton, in an interview with al.com/The Birmingham News, said there were limitations on what was allowed to be paid with city money and the allowable expenses have all been paid.
Still, there was no contract between the city and the foundation specifying exactly how the money would be spent and a $19,000 funeral bill remains unpaid.
The city's resolution simply states the money would be used to "incorporate in the Legacy Project along the Birmingham Civil Rights Trail an honor designation for Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth..."
"We were under the impression that up to $20,000 would be made available for the memorial," said Douglass Petty, the foundation's president. "The understanding was you proceed based on the fact that you have that amount. From that point when an invoice was submitted, the thought was they would have provided the funds to the particular point. That did not happen."
Petty said it was city leaders who suggested a larger public funeral that spanned multiple days.
This is the state of Birmingham in 2013; this is the state of America in 2013; this is the state of "civil rights" in 2013, which completely shields blacks from any and all criticism.It was that event, which featured national figures and hours of memorials that justified the use of public money, Petty said.
And also from having to pay their bills for a funeral honoring one of their "heroes," which they renamed an airport ('international' in name only) for, where a 300 pound-sign - almost certainly hanged by a 'disadvantaged business" - fell and killed a 10-year-old white kid.
This is America in 2013.