Welcome to the Beth El Civil Rights Experience!

Please direct questions and inquiries about visiting and engaging with the Beth El Civil Rights Experience to Margaret Norman at


Upcoming Events




Mission Statement: The Beth El Civil Rights Experience explores Birmingham’s civil rights history through the lens of the Jewish community and builds connections to foster ongoing acts of tikkun olam (repairing the world).

What’s new? Check out this article from UAB on our internship program!

Bookmark this page and sign up for our email list, so that you can stay up to date with The Beth El Civil Rights Experience. 

           This project is made possible by  the Charles and Esther Lee Kimerling Media Fund, the Maxine and Stanley Lapidus Special Projects Fund, and the Tenenbaum/Spielberger Tikkun Olam Fund of the Temple Beth El Foundation, Alabama Humanities Alliance, the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, Sirote-Dentons, the Southern Jewish Historical Society, Alabama Power, Temple Beth El Men’s Club and the additional support of many members of our community.  Video by McKay Allen, Beth El Civil Rights Experience Intern Spring 2021.

This project is supported by the Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the Alabama Humanities Alliance or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Program

We are currently welcoming visiting groups by appointment. We offer a 60-120 minute program based on each group’s needs. This program exposes visitors to our historic synagogue and the intersection of Birmingham’s Jewish and civil rights histories. We offer an interactive program where participants are given opportunity not only to learn, but to engage and reflect through activities and prompts. We are able to tailor this program to different age ranges, from youth to adults. Additionally, if your group is looking for a kosher meal, we can discuss options for adding this to your visit!

Contact Margaret at mnorman@templebeth-el.net to plan your visit today and to learn more about program fees.


Historic Marker Comes to Temple Beth El!

If you have come to shul recently you may have noticed our new historic marker on 21st Way. This marker, the efforts of a dedicated team here at Temple Beth El, marks the spot where 54 sticks of dynamite were placed in 1958 and shares this history with our community. Already we’ve heard from so many of you what seeing this marker means!
A huge shout out to Sam Mann and his team at Harmony Partners, who donated labor and materials to install our marker, and to our collaborative partners at Studio 1504 who captured photos of the installation and commemoration, held on July 17. 
 (Photo by Tyler Jones of Studio 1504) 

Ready to Dive In? 

Learn more about “Deep Dive” here.

Registration is now closed, but email Margaret at mnorman@templebeth-el.net to get on an interest list for future cohorts.

Take a listen… 

Check out select recorded features from our Tirdof programming series on Civil Rights Past and Present. We will continue to post recorded programs on this YouTube playlist.

You can see what we have coming up here or on the TBE calendar!

Listen to our TravelStorys audio tour.

How Can YOU Get Involved? 

Do you want to be part of an exciting new committee at Temple Beth El? Are you a history buff? Do you love event planning? Have a knack for fundraising? This committee will be the primary point of lay leadership in the development of the Beth El Civil Rights Experience; a multimedia project exploring Jewish Birmingham and Civil Rights. The role of this committee is to provide advisory feedback on materials, increase capacity of the project by contributing to specific components of development and to act as community ambassadors for the Beth El Civil Rights Experience.

If you’ve engaged with these materials or want to support this project, please consider making a donation. Your donation allows us to continue offering the accessible programming you love, and supports us in the development of this innovative project.

Fight Against Fear: Southern Jews and Black Civil RightsClive Webb

Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climatic Struggle of the Civil Rights RevolutionDiane McWhorter

But For Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle – Glen Eskew

Troubling the Waters: Black-Jewish Relations in the American Century – Cheryl Greenberg

The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race and American IdentityEric Goldstein

Quiet Voices: Southern Rabbis and Black Civil Rights, 1880s to 1980sMark Bauman and Berkely Kalin

Birmingham Foot Soldiers: Voices From the Civil Rights Movement – Nick Patterson

The Institute of Southern Jewish Life’s “Virtual Vacation” series

The Taylor Oral History Collection at the Bremen Museum

The Oral History Collection at the Birmingham Public Library

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Oral History Project

Bending the Arc 

  • The Bending the Arc project explores the long struggle against racism in Alabama, featuring the stories of both African Americans and a small group of little-known white allies who fought for racial justice during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham in the 1960s. The project features a four-part documentary mini-series and additional films that explore race as seen through the eyes of children, the brutal effects of segregation, resistance to racial injustice, allies of the Birmingham movement, voting rights, today’s continuing challenges, and pathways to empathy and hope. The project was created and is managed by producer/director Pam Powell and producer/videographer David Brower, in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Birmingham.

The Titusville Landmarks and Heritage Project

  • The Titusville Landmarks and Heritage Project aspires to preserve the rich history of the Titusville community by collecting stories, and marking historic sites. This project brings together the the Titusville community as active participants in preserving the neighborhood’s rich story.

    This project is sponsored by Titusville Development Corporation, Inc.(TDC) and the Titusville Marker Committee, and is support-
    ed by the Alabama Humanities Alliance, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the Alabama Humanities
    Alliance or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“No More Bull”

In 2013, UAB historian Pamela Sterne King and Temple Beth El congregant Solomon P. Kimerling teamed up to author a 17-part series entitled “No More Bull” for Weld. An 18th part by Mark Kelly (then-publisher of Weld) reflected back on the series. 2013 was the fiftieth anniversary of a number of key events within Birmingham’s long civil rights movement, and this series is an excellent commemoration of that history.

Sol Kimerling (z”l) passed away in 2022. Sol was not only co-author of this series, but a true community historian, and an important supporter of the Beth El Civil Rights Experience. He was active in the Birmingham community in so many ways. You can read more about his legacy, with his wife, Rita Kimerling (z”l) here, in this excellent tribute from University of Alabama-Birmingham.

We are thrilled to provide continuing access to “No More Bull!” Click here to read the series.

Tzofim La’atid (Looking to the Future) 

“Photos from groundbreaking photographer praised by MLK displayed in Birmingham.”