Shattered Glass in Birmingham traces the experiences of a white
northern family during the climax of the civil rights movement in
Alabama's largest city. Recounted primarily from Randall Jimerson's
perspective as one of five children of Reverend Norman C. "Jim"
Jimerson, executive director of the Alabama Council on Human
Relations, the narrative explores the public and private impact of
the civil rights struggle. Based on extensive archival research as
well as oral histories, Shattered Glass in Birmingham offers the
reader a ground-level view of prejudice, discrimination, violence,
In 1961 the Alabama Council on Human Relations charged Rev.
Jimerson with the critical task of improving communications and
racial understanding between Alabama's black and white communities,
employing him to travel extensively throughout the state to
coordinate the activities of Human Relations chapters across
Alabama. Along the way, he developed close working relationships
with black and white ministers, educators, and businessmen and
served as an effective bridge between the communities.
Rev. Jimerson's success as a community activist was due largely
to his ability to gain the trust of both white moderates and key
figures in the civil rights movement: Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr.
Lucius Pitts, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. Wyatt T. Walker, Rev.
Andrew Young, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He represents the
hundreds of people who worked behind the scenes to help achieve the
goals of civil rights activists.
After Klan members killed four young girls in the bombing of the
Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in September 1963, Rev. Jimerson
preserved several pieces of stained glass that had blown out of the
church's windows. Similarly, Shattered Glass in Birmingham offers
us a fresh and important perspective on these climactic events,
supplying one of the many fragments that make up the complex story
of our nation's fight for civil liberties.
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