BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is now over 30 years old and in need of some upgrades.
On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council stepped in to help. DeJana Thompson, the President and CEO of BCRI could hardly contain her excitement over the $1 million investment.
“Listen, I am over the moon and excited for what the city council has afforded to this legacy organization, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute,” Thompson said.
City Councilor Crystal Smitherman says the investment was an easy decision, especially in light of what BCRI does for the city of Birmingham.
“BCRI is really important to really tell the world what happened in Birmingham,” Smitherman said. “Because really, a lot of things like the church bombing of the four little girls is really what sparked the civil rights movement and so that’s one of the first things people come to BCRI. “
First opened in 1992, BCRI welcomes more than 150,000 visitors a year and Thompson said the building is beginning to show it.
”This is a building that has 30 years of preserving the legacy of what happened in the civil rights movement, particularly in the city of Birmingham and it was commissioned by the first African American mayor of this city,” Thompson said.
The funds will be used to address sensory and ADA capabilities at the Institute but also to address leads in the beloved dome. Thompson said the building has served the institute well but is in need of some long-overdue attention.
”A thirty-year-old building that has been maintained with love and care,” Thompson said. “Every thirty-year-old institution is going to need some sprucing up.”
The upgrades have already begun and the construction project is a small part of a much larger upgrade that Thompson said will continue for the next two to three years.