. Mayor – William Bell
. Largest city in Alabama
. 151.9 square miles
. Population as of 2011 – 212, 413
Looking into the history of the city of Birmingham is quite fascinating. Most of us are familiar with its more recent history, especially since this year marks the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Church bombing and all the pivotal things that happened in the Civll Rights Movement in 1963.
Looking further back, though, it seems this city has always been marked with “magical” growth and prosperity, followed by struggle and hardship. It was dubbed “Magic City” because of its rapid population growth. Incorporated in 1871, it had 1,200 residents. Two years later, it had jumped to 4,000. However, in just two more years, in 1875, it had plummeted back to just 1,200 due to disease. By 1885, the population skyrocketed to 25,000 residents due to the Pratt mining operation and its production of coke. However, it was torn by violence due to dangerous working conditions, conflicts between the unions and mine owners, and political corruption.
The city enjoyed another economic boom following World War I, as did most of the nation, but by the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan had gained a foothold and violence against African-Americans in the city increased dramatically. Then the Great Depression hit the nation, and Birmingham was deemed the hardest hit city in the nation by President Hoover’s administration. The city continued to struggle until World War II, after which the city started to become more economically diverse.
Of course, we’re all familiar with the struggle for civil rights during the 50’s and 60’s, and the prominent role Birmingham played in that struggle. Today, though, the citizens of this city work hard to put our violent history behind us and have learned to appreciate the diversity of this city for the treasure that it is. Birmingham is also recognized for its health care facilities, research, education, and the arts.
As an intercessor, I have long felt this city is marked for something that only the Lord can accomplish. It’s history so far can be credited to man – from its economically prosperous times, to its tragically violent times. I believe God is ready to do something in Birmingham that can only be credited to Him. It will be a city after God’s own heart.
Father, my heart is too full to put into words what I feel about Birmingham, and we dare not presume to tell You how to do Your will. So we simply submit this city to You, and we ask that Your will would be done and that Your kingdom would come in Birmingham as it already is in Heaven. Tear down the strongholds of hate and corruption. Expose what has been done in darkness, so that it can be redeemed by Your grace. Let this city and its people be redeemed of the Lord, and shine as a beacon of Your love, Your light, and Your truth. For Your glory.
I would love to hear how the Lord is leading you to pray for the city of Birmingham.