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Join us April 10, 2019 For a Very Special Guest: Chervis Isom,
TOPIC: The Newspaper Boy: Coming of age in
Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Era

Josiah Morris

Chervis Isom

Southern Railway train Sunnyland

The Newspaper Boy: Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil  Rights Era

Chervis Isom published a memoir in December 2013, entitled "The Newspaper Boy: Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Era," which tells of his journey out of the Jim Crow racism of his youth through a series of stories meant to explain to his grandchildren the times in which he grew up. Over a period of ten years, those stories grew into a book that documents the evolution of his life as it intersected with those historical and social events that occurred during his youth, such as the Korean War; the increasingly hostile Cold War; the wave of McCarthyism; Jim Crow and the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement in transportation, and following Brown v. Board of Education, in education; the Cuban Crisis; anti-Catholicism and the election of John Kennedy; the Civil Rights demonstrations in Birmingham culminating with the 16th Street Church bombing; and the assassination of President John Kennedy.

One of his short stories was published in the The Louisville Review, Volume 75, Spring 2014, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Others have been published in The Birmingham Arts Journal.

Mr. Isom grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and attended its public schools. A graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and Cumberland School of Law of Samford University, he has practiced law for 50 years in his native city with the firm of Berkowitz, Lefkovits, which merged in 2003 into Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz.



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Edgewood Lake sign

Historical Marker Locations

  • Independent Presbyterian Church
  • The Little Theatre
  • The Alabama Theatre
  • Shades Valley High School (original site)
  • Mountain Brook
  • Homewood
  • Rosedale
  • Hollywood
  • Edgewood
  • Briarwood Presbyterian Church
  • Will Franke/Early Mountain Brook Village
  • St. Vincent's Hospital
  • Oldest House in Shades Valley/Irondale Furnace Commissary
  • Union Hill Cemetery/Union Hill Methodist Episcopal Church/Union Hill School
  • Lane Park
  • Birmingham Water Works Company/Cahaba Pumping Station
  • Irondale Furnace/Wallace S. McElwain
  • The Old Mill/Robert Jemison, Jr.
  • Brock's Gap/The South & North Railroad Cut/Gateway to Birmingham
  • Canterbury United Methodist Church
  • Edgewood Lake


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Jefferson County Historical Association meeting

Recent meeting of the Jefferson County Historical Association

The Jefferson County Historical Association (JCHA) is dedicated to preserving, educating and publicizing local history through quarterly meetings, the Jefferson Journal newsletter and social media, as well as promoting historical preservation efforts.

Originally founded as the Birmingham Historical Society in 1942, the Society was reorganized in 1975 as the Birmingham-Jefferson County Historical Society and was later re-named the Jefferson County Historical Association in 2011.

Since 1992, the JCHA has erected over 20 historical markers throughout Jefferson County, and sells over 10 books and publications written by local authors, including former Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett.

In 2003, the JCHA formed the Birmingham History Center to preserve the region’s fascinating history through a collection of historical artifacts and memorabilia. In January 2018, Vulcan Park & Museum announced a partnership with the Birmingham History Center, ensuring the continued preservation and sharing of our unique history and stories.

Josiah Morris

Josiah Morris–an early founder of Birmingham

For anyone who has a recommendation for a historical marker in Jefferson County, please contact the JCHA to place for consideration and review. Email:

Jefferson County Alabama–a Brief History.

With the founding of the state of Alabama, Jefferson County was also established in December 1821 and is the most populous county in Alabama. Most of the original immigrants were veterans from the War of 1812. With agricultural pursuits in mind, their attention quickly shifted to the area’s immense mineral wealth which gave rise to the iron and steel industry.

Birmingham was founded in 1871 six years after the Civil War ended during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era through the merger of three pre-existing farm towns, most notably Elyton. The new city was named for Birmingham, England, the UK's 2nd largest city and, at the time, a major industrial city.

Southern Railway train Sunnyland

Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark

The Alabama city emerged as a primary industrial center of the southern United States based on mining, the new iron and steel industry and rail transport through the end of the 1960s. Birmingham’s growth from 1881 through 1920 earned it nicknames such as "The Magic City" and "The Pittsburgh of the South."

The economy diversified in the latter half of the 20th century: Banking, telecommunications, transportation, electrical power transmission, medical care, college education and insurance have become major economic activities. Birmingham ranks as one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. Also, it is among the most important business centers in the Southeast.