Saturday, June 23, 2007

Birmingham Pledge 04-09-12

Life in the South has changed

The Tuscaloosa News Sunday, Sept. 12, 2004
Mirza A. Beg

Dear Editor: About 40 years ago I was in school in India and read about the civil rights struggle in the South and specifically in Birmingham. I read about the bombing of the 16th street Baptist Church, resulting in the deaths of three young innocent black girls. It was a terrible image of Alabama projected around the world.

I have come to know and appreciate a very different Alabama. Birmingham has come a long way. It has turned that shame to a positive affirmation of human dignity in the form of “The Birmingham Pledge" composed in 1997 by James E. Roch.

The pledge express the core belief of the Alabamians and indeed all decent human beings, pledging to respect and affirm human dignity against prejudice.Every year during the week of Sept. 13th the pledge is renewed and propagated as a vehicle of self-evaluation. It is a simple affirmation of principles that all of us know to be good, such as treating others as we would like to be treated.

The Cultural Awareness Committee of “Challenge 21," a civic public service organization of Tuscaloosa, is launching the Birmingham Pledge week on the 13th of September at Capitol Park at 12 noon. These are times of sectarian turmoil in the world. It would be helpful for all of us to attend and affirm our belief in the principles of decency that we like to live by and call our own.

Mirza A. Beg email address is

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