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campaign. They helped form the Birmingham Citizens for Progress, which included other Birmingham lawyers, such as Robert Vance, Erskine Smith, Chuck Morgan, George Peach Taylor and Vernon Patrick.   This organization began a grass roots campaign for change in the election scheduled for November 8, 1962, to choose Birmingham’s form of government. During the campaign, Connor described David Vann as a “communist” sent by “Hugo Black to help integrate” Birmingham.  On election day, Birmingham voted for the Mayor-Council form of government, with a significant number of African-American voters supporting this change. The election did not, however, mean the end of the fight for control of City Hall.  In February, 1963, Jefferson County Circuit Judge J. Edgar Bowron denied a request for an injunction and allowed the election for the positions of Mayor and nine members of the Council to proceed on March 5, 1963.  In that election, Albert Boutwell led Bull Connor for the position of Mayor, with Tom King running third.  A run-off election was held on April 2, 1963, where Boutwell prevailed and became Mayor. Again, this election did not resolve the question of who would lead the City. Connor and the other commissioners refused to leave office, leading to a curious scene at City Hall. For the next few months, Birmingham had two leaders:  Boutwell claimed authority as Mayor, while the Commissioners  refused to leave office.  The dispute over who was really in charge was not resolved until May 23, 1963, when the Alabama Supreme Court held that Albert Boutwell was the duly elected Mayor of Birmingham. One of the members of the new City Council was Nina Miglionico, a Birmingham attorney. Obviously, the change in the form of government in the Spring of 1963 did not cause an overnight change in the City of Birmingham.   Indeed, the most important and tragic events in 1963 were yet to come: The marches, the arrival of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. But the events leading up to this time laid the groundwork for later changes. The Birmingham Bar’s role in I look forward to the Bar’s celebration of lawyers who made a difference and helped facilitate positive change for our city. facilitating a change in the form of City government is one that should be recognized.  Moreover, the actions of a number of lawyers, such as David Vann, Abe Berkowitz, Chuck Morgan and others are important to acknowledge.  For black lawyers in Birmingham, this was a trying time. Arthur Shores played a prominent role and also suffered the consequences as his home was bombed on several occasions in 1963. And it wasn’t until 1966 that Oscar Adams was admitted to membership in the Birmingham Bar, followed by Arthur Shores and J. Mason Davis. Though not widely known, these black lawyers played an important behind-thescenes role in changing the City’s form of government. I spoke with J. Mason Davis who clearly recalls these events. Mason remembers that he, Arthur Shores, Oscar Adams and Orzell Billingsley attended the Bar Committee’s meetings that were usually held at the office of Abe Berkowitz in the Bank for Savings Building. While not formally members of the committee since they were not members of the Bar Association, they provided consistent input. Importantly, these lawyers then went to mass meetings in the black community to encourage support in the pending election to change the form of government. As Mason recalls, “we used Bull Connor as the bait” to encourage voters to support the Mayor/ Council form of government. Mason observed that “1963 was an awful year. It was tough when people felt that they could bomb your house with impunity.” As we now look back on those events from fifty years ago, we can all appreciate the efforts made by the members of the Birmingham legal community who led the City beyond that “awful year.” I look forward to the Bar’s celebration of lawyers who made a difference and helped facilitate positive change for our city. There are a number of good resources for those interested in learning more about this period.  The Bar report is available for viewing at the Bar headquarters and is on the Bar’s website.  Other interesting sources include The Freedom Ride Riot and Political Reform in Birmingham, 1961-1963, Glenn T. Eskew, The Alabama Review (July 1996); A Powerful Presence, The Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and the History of Birmingham (2008) by Mark A. Kelly; A Time to Speak, Charles Morgan, Jr. (1964); Ed Lamonte, Politics and Welfare in Birmingham 1900-1975; Carry Me Home, Diane McWhorter (2001);  Shuttlesworth v. Gaylord, 202 F. Supp. 59 (N.D. Ala. 1961); Reid v. City of Birmingham, 150 So. 2d 735 (Ala. 1963); Connor v. Boutwell, 153 So. 2d 787 (Ala. 1963). G 10 Birmingham Bar Association


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