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Birmingham, Alabama, the largest city in the state and the seat of Jefferson County. It is in north-central Alabama near the southern tip of the Appalachian moutain range.
Birmingham was settled about in 1813 and was incorporated in 1871. It was named after Birmingham, England, famous iron and coal city. Its real growth began after 1910 from the abundance of jobs in the steel mills. Birmingham was the scene of violent racial disturbances in 1963 during the civil rights movement, which attracted worldwide news coverage. In the 1970's, race relations improved significantly, and in 1979 a black mayor was elected.
A 55-foot iron statute of Vulcan, mythical god of forge and fire, occupies a piece of real estate on a high pedestal on Red Mountain. Birmingham's Vulcan statue symbolizes the city's importance as a leading steel center. Arlington, an antebellum mansion featuring period furnishings, is one of Birmingham's leading landmarks and a popular tourist attraction.
Known as the "Pittsburgh of the South" because of it iron and steel production, Birmingham grew up near vast deposits of iron, coal, limestone, and dolomite. Today, these raw materials come largely from outside the area. Birmingham factories produce simple fabricated metal products such as pipe, wire, and nails, along with diesel engines, parts for autos, tools, and various types of machinery and electrical equipment. Textiles, coal, coke, explosives, and chemicals also are produced. Birmingham is an important market for lumber. There are also meat-packing plants, flour mills, and railway repair shops.
Birmingham, Alabama is a major hub of the state's railway and highway network, and has a large airport (Birmingham Regional). Port Birmingham, west of the city, moves freight to and from Mobile on the Black Warrior and Tombigbee rivers.
Birmingham-Southern College, Miles College, Samford University, and Univeristy of Alabama at Birmingham are the local colleges/universities. Graduates from these schools help to fill the many jobs offered by local employers with highly qualify individuals. The city has an art museum, more that 1,000 acres of parks, a zoo, and a large public library system. The city's civic center, opened in 1974, has a concert hall (home of the Birmingham Symphony), theater, and exhibition hall.
Birmingham is home to two minor league sports teams. The Birmingham Barons are the local minor league baseball club affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. They play home games at the Hoover Met. Birmingham was fortunate to be the place that Michael Jordan spent his time trying to make it to the big leagues before returning to basketball. The Birmingham Steeldogs play arena football at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center. They are in the AF2 league which serves as a type of minor leagues for the Arena Football League (AFL).
Birmingham is also home to local special events such as City Stages and Do Dah Day. City Stages is an annual event that features hundreds of musicians (world famous and local) over a period of several days. Do Dah Day is also an annual event for the support of the Birmingham Humane Society. Thousands of participants along with their animals gather yearly to fertilize the city's parks, hehe.