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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin | Spring 2015

Special Interest By Samuel A. Rumore, Jr., Past President of the Alabama State Bar The Nina Miglionico Statue Project It is a long-standing tradition to honor the important people who have gone before us. Essays and books are written about them. Movies are made about their lives. Streets, buildings, gardens, and other public venues are named for them. And sometimes a statue of the honored person is sculpted to serve as a memorial to their life. The members of the Birmingham Bar Association will be pleased to learn that this year, one of our own, Nina Miglionico, will be recognized with a statue at Linn Park. Though short in stature, Miss Nina was a giant in the history of Birmingham. She was the child of Italian immigrant parents, but she became one of the first women attorneys in Alabama to establish her own law practice. Early in her career, which began in 1936, she recognized the transformative power of the law to change existing conditions. She worked to improve rights for women to own and inherit property and to serve on juries. She held progressive views on equality and race. Her leadership qualities were recognized when she became the President of the National Association of Women Lawyers and in that role she held a seat in the American Bar Association House of Delegates. Her great civic contributions to Birmingham continued in 1963 when she was elected to the newly-established Birmingham City Council. In this position, she and the other councilors rescinded all of Birmingham’s segregation ordinances and began the process of integrating the African-American community into the structure of Birmingham through new employment opportunities, city contracts, and appointments to city boards. The year 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of her first re-election race. On April 1, 1965, a bomb containing 60 sticks of dynamite was placed on her front porch during the night. This was believed to be the work of the Ku Klux Klan but no one was ever arrested for the act. The bomb was disarmed by her 80 year-old father, who saw the box when he went out to get the morning paper and reached in and threw the alarm clock timer into the street. If this act of intimidation was meant to scare or silence her, it failed, because she was re-elected to the City Council in 1965, 1969, 1973, 1977, and 1981. She was the first woman to serve as President of the City Council. (For a detailed account of the bombing attempt see Alabama Heritage Magazine, Number 112, Spring 2014, pages 36-43.) Present Birmingham Mayor William Bell served with her on the City Council. Mayor Bell sought the best way to honor Miss Nina and to recognize her 22 years of service to the city and her 73 years of service as an attorney. (She is believed to be the longest practicing female attorney in the history of the State of Alabama.) He approved the idea of placing her statue at Linn Park. This is the appropriate location because it is between City Hall and the County Courthouse, two buildings where she spent so much of her time. The city has commissioned noted artist and sculptor, Dr. Ronald McDowell, to create the statue of Nina Miglionico for placement in this public space. The members of the Birmingham Bar Association are being asked to show their support for the statue project in gratitude for Miss Nina’s service to this community. You can make a tax deductible contribution to the Birmingham Bar Foundation, 2021 2nd Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203, and specify that your gift is for the Nina Miglionico statue. These funds will be combined with funds from the city to offset the cost of the project. The anticipated dedication date is April, 2015. For those of you who knew her, or simply know of her good work, your support in any amount for this project will be a symbol of your appreciation for the civic contributions of one of our own. G 30 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin | Spring 2015
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