Fourth Avenue Historic District.

Fourth Avenue Historic District. (HMHQC)

Location: Birmingham, AL 35203 Jefferson County
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Country: United States of America
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N 33° 30.924', W 86° 48.696'

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Marker front:
Prior to 1900 a "black business district" did not exist in Birmingham. In a pattern characteristic of Southern cities found during Reconstruction, black businesses developed alongside those of whites in many sections of the downtown area.

After the turn of the century, Jim Crow laws authorizing the distinct separation of "the races" and subsequent restrictions placed on black firms forced the growing black business community into an area along Third, Fourth, and Fifth Avenue North, from 15th to 18th Streets. Segregation and discrimination created a small world in which black enterprise was accepted and to which blacks had open access. This area served as the business, social, and cultural center for blacks with activities similar to those in the predominantly white distracts. The businesses located in the area included barber and beauty shops, mortuaries, saloons, restaurants, theatres, photographic studios, cleaners, shoe shine parlors, and motels. These black businesses and their successors continued to do well throughout the '60s.

Marker reverse:
The black business district was not only "alive" during the day light hours but "thrived" throughout the night. On Friday and Saturday nights, the streets were filled with crowds of people visiting the bars or just out for a stroll. Live entertainment made the district "the place to be."

While most of the theatres provided "movies" the Frolic and Hury Henry had "live" stage shows during the 1930s. Not only did singers and dancers captivate the audiences, but live vaudeville shows came to the area. Bob Williams, owner of the "Bob's Savoy," a famous night club and restaurant, entertained the lite of the black athletic and entertainment world. After the Civil Rights struggle, many new doors were opened literally and figuratively to blacks. Many black businesses, especially hotels and cafes, suffered with the end of segregation. Once allowed into white establishments, sadly many blacks did not return to the black-owned businesses. The abandonment of black-owned businesses caused a major "economic" impact on the area, causing many to do their shopping in malls and other area.

National Register of Historic Places, February 11, 1982.
Year Placed1982
Placed ByAlabama Historical Commission, Urban Impact, Inc. and the City of Birmingham
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 3:47pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 517496 N 3708442
Decimal Degrees33.51540000, -86.81160000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 33° 30.924', W 86° 48.696'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds33° 30' 55.44" N, 86° 48' 41.76" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)205
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1700-1798 4th Ave N, Birmingham AL 35203, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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