50 Years Forward: 155 White Guys, the 1901 Constitution, and Birmingham’s Prosperity

Did 151 White guys in 1901 ruin Birmingham?
Did 151 White guys in 1901 ruin Birmingham?


David Sher’s “Comeback Town” has weighed in on Alabama’s 1901 Constitution.

The 155 White guys who penned the 1901 Constitution are accused of creating structures which have crippled Birmingham in 2013: a concentration of power in Montgomery, a regressive tax system that favors large landowners, a ban on internal improvements, black disenfranchisement, etc.

Last night, I waded through this line of reasoning in the opening chapter of Wayne Flynt’s Alabama In The Twentieth Century, and I wasn’t in the least bit impressed by it. I was saving my thoughts on this for the upcoming review, but I will go ahead and explain now why I disagree.

1.) First, Birmingham’s population grew under the 1901 Constitution from 38,415 in 1900 to 340,887 in 1960. After nine consecutive decades of population growth (including sixty years under the 1901 Constitution), the population of Birmingham declined in the 1970 Census to 300,901.

The 1970 Census was the turning point. Birmingham’s population has declined in every subsequent census from 300,901 in 1970 to 212,237 in 2010. Obviously, the 1901 Constitution didn’t inhibit the growth of “The Magic City” from 1900 to 1960, so it seems unreasonable to blame the 1901 Constitution for a decline that began roughly sixty years after it was passed.

2.) Second, Birmingham’s downward spiral isn’t reflected in other Alabama cities, which are similarly governed under the 1901 Constitution:

The population of Huntsville has grown from 72,365 in 1960 to 180,105 in 2010. The population of Montgomery has grown from 134,393 in 1960 to 205,764 in 2010. The population of Dothan has grown from 31,440 in 1960 to 65,496 in 2010. The population of Tuscaloosa has grown from 63,370 in 1960 to 90,468 in 2010.

Closer to home, there were 668 people in Hoover in 1960, but there were 81,619 there in 2010. There were 1,623 people in Alabaster in 1960, but there were 30,352 there in 2010. There were 4,029 people in Vestavia Hills in 1960, but there were 34,033 there in 2010. There were 12,680 people in Mountain Brook in 1960, but 20,413 in 2010.

The population of Mobile, however, has declined from 202,779 in 1960 to 195,111 in 2010, after a similar period of meteoric growth from 38,469 in 1900. Like Birmingham in 1979, Mobile elected its “first black mayor” in 2005, Sam Jones.

3.) Birmingham’s violent crime problem can’t be blamed on the 1901 Constitution: in Bull Connor’s Birmingham, the homicide rate per 100,000 was 13.49 in 1951, but it had grown to 36.28 in 2012, which is down from its highwater mark of 53.01 in 1991.

4.) The blighted neighborhoods in Birmingham – like their counterparts in St. Louis, Newark, and Detroit – are a symptom of their abandonment by the White population since the 1960s. Sixty years ago, when the 1901 Constitution was in effect, places like Ensley, Elyton, Gate City and West End were described as safe and prosperous.

5.) From the 1950s to the 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court systematically gutted the 1901 Constitution. The Jim Crow system was completely destroyed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Bull Connor was removed from power in 1963 and was replaced by liberal mayors like David Vann who aligned themselves with the black community.

6.) Federal spending in the 20th century also completely altered the nature of Alabama’s economy and overwhelmed the internal improvement provisions of the 1901 Constitution: the largest employer in Birmingham is UAB, Montgomery has Maxwell-Gunter Airforce Base, and Huntsville’s aerospace driven economy is based on NASA, Redstone Arsenal, and Cummings Research Park.

Alabama in 2013 is crisscrossed by interstates and U.S. highways and county roads that date back to the New Deal. The state lavishes incentive packages on the likes of Mercedes and Airbus to lure foreign manufacturing to Alabama. Something like 45% of black people now live off the SNAP EBT food stamps program.

Birmingham’s precipitous decline can be laid at the doorstep of its black population whose “capacity for government” was found “wholly wanting” by the architects of the 1901 Constitution.

The Birmingham City School system, which JFK used the military to integrate in 1963, is 98% black. Birmingham has been governed by black mayors for the last 34 years. The Birmingham City Council is majority black. The Birmingham Police Department and the Birmingham Water Works Board are majority black. Birmingham has a black congressman and black state senators and representatives.

The violent crime problem in Birmingham is exclusively black. The blighted neighborhoods are almost exclusively black. Way back in 1964, the White suburbs refused to consolidate with Birmingham because of their fear of black governance.

It was black people in 1963 whose demonstrations and disruption of commerce overwhelmed the Birmingham Police Department which was attempting to maintain law and order. It was the conspiracy between the black population and the business elites to integrate Birmingham without the consent of its White working class majority that destroyed confidence in the city and resulted in its abandonment.

155 White guys didn’t destroy Birmingham in 1901 … that was the handiwork of MLK and Fred Shuttlesworth in 1963, Sidney Smyer and the Chamber of Commerce, the Warren Court and the Southside liberals, and Richard Arrington, Jr. and his illustrious successors like Larry Langford.

There is a slogan on the wall of the Birmingham City Council: “Cities Are What People Make Them.” The state of Birmingham in 2013 is what the alliance between the black population, White liberals, and the business community has produced after vanquishing the segregationists in the 1964 elections.

For ninety years, the trajectory of Birmingham had been upward and upward … and then, the White liberals got their way in 1963, and the integrated paradise of their dreams came true.

About Hunter Wallace 12380 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. Of course, liberals aren’t the only kind of white people who can’t see past their own ideology properly to blame black dysfunction on blacks. It is this same disease which presents itself every time a lamestream conservative blames black dysfunction on Democrats running the cities in which dysfunctional blacks live.

  2. “155 White guys didn’t destroy Birmingham in 1901 … that was the handiwork of MLK and Fred Shuttlesworth in 1963, Sidney Smyer and the Chamber of Commerce, the Warren Court and the Southside liberals, and Richard Arrington, Jr. and his illustrious successors like Larry Langford.

    There is a slogan on the wall of the Birmingham City Council: “Cities are What People Make Them.” The state of Birmingham in 2013 is what the alliance between the black population, White liberals, and the business community has produced after vanquishing the segregationists in the 1964 elections”

    JFK was elected less than 1 percent of the votes. The AA was the factor. there’s more to the storry of his assassination and the making of MLK.

  3. Why can’t Birmingham’s city leaders attract more white?

    They can’t stand anyone in authority who doesn’t look like them.

    Not even the management of private enterprises.

  4. There was a recent article in the Occidental Observer that brilliantly articulates the absurdity of the mindset of lunatics like Sher and Flynt:

    “Dawkins, Gould and other liberal atheists believe in the Miracle of Human Equality: namely, that all human groups, despite their superficial physical differences, are equal in average cognitive ability – equal, in fact, on all psychological variables. In short, there is only one brain: the Human Brain. And all groups have an equal share in it. Okay, the actual physical brain of different groups varies in size and structure, but that doesn’t make any difference to brain function. Metaphysics trumps mere matter, for heaven’s sake. Or rather: not for heaven’s sake. Liberal atheists don’t believe in heaven, but they do believe that Black women are capable of the same high intellectual achievement as Chinese men. It’s true that no Black woman has ever won a Nobel Prize for Physics or made fundamental contributions to mathematics, but that’s because racism and sexism have held the soul-sisters back. How do we know that? Because the undoubted genetic differences between those two groups have no effect on the brain. That is the central dogma of Neuro-Miraculism, the super-scientific creed of liberal atheists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould.”


    Equality is the great myth of our time. It is also the great evil of our time. Discredit equality in the minds of most white Americans and everything else will fall into place.

  5. The John Northrops and their ilk stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the blindingly obvious – blacks never have and never will be bale to create and maintain a level of civilization on par with that of Whites. Birmingham is a failed city by all accounts. It is also a black city ruled by a black elite. Therefore, its present woes must, repeat must, be laid squarely on the shoulders of 155 long-dead White men that well over 110 years ago drew up a document that for some 50 years has been a dead letter. To blame the present black population and the current black ruling class for this sorry state of affairs is simply unbearable to these types who will preform all sorts of mental gymnastics to avoid coming to such an unpalatable conclusion. Unbelievable.

  6. If equality doesn’t exist, maybe the main reason you people are losing the battle for the white race is that you weren’t created equal. Maybe I’m just simply better than you because I was born with the resources to not have to live in poor neighborhoods like Detroit and Birmingham. Now go back to work peasants.

  7. If equality does exist outside of an abstract concept, give us a few examples of equal organisms, PGRT…

  8. I saw E.O. Wilson on one of those TV nature shows say that the total weight of all the ants in the world approximately equals the weight of all the humans.

  9. And ants have been around for a lot longer than humans so I guess they are superior survivors. Not as successful or as weighty as all those bacteria though.

  10. Approximately is not equal. And what species of ants? They are all different and unequal.

  11. It’s not so much losing as stopped being imperialists. As soon as active fighting starts up again, the blacks will have their guts cut out.

    I say reconquer and colonize West Africa.

  12. @Wayne:

    Thanks. And you’re right: Dawkins is indeed a religious fanatic. Here’s the irony: While conservatives universally hate Dawkins for his belief in “evOlushen,” most of them share the same god Dawkins does: Equality. They preach “equal opportunity,” which is impossible unless you rape middle class white children of their wealth when their father dies and hand it out to EBT-carrying blacks and browns. Conservatives are also on a mission to equalize education outcomes through “skewl choice.” When I pointed out the IQ differences between whites and blacks/browns, this one lady on twitter told me to “take that tripe elsewhere. Every child can learn.”


Comments are closed.