In the wake of commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, other seminal events in civil rights history will be taking center stage in Birmingham, Ala. On Sept. 14, the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center will host the BBVA Compass Concert for Human Rights.
Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx is onboard as host. Complementing performances by Jill Scott and Charlie Wilson will be special appearances by various civil rights leaders. Live Nation is co-producing the event with Sun Belt-based financial institution BBVA Compass as title sponsor.
Staged in support of Birmingham’s year-long “50 Years Forward” celebration, the Concert for Human Rights will highlight a weeklong remembrance of the city’s galvanizing role in the civil rights movement. It was in the Birmingham jail in April 1963 that King began writing his legendary letter protesting the city’s treatment of blacks. And it was in Birmingham that the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed on Sept. 15, 1963, killing four girls.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell “reached out and wanted to do something special,” concert executive producer Scott Mirkin says. “Our goal is to shine a light on Birmingham in a positive way and leave an impact.” Mirkin adds that Foxx is “working his Rolodex” and has several surprise guests in store. Sharing executive producer duties with Mirkin are Shawn Gee and Geoff Gordon. The trio’s credits include Philadelphia’s Fourth of July Jam and the Budweiser Made in America Festival.
“This event falls right in line with our company’s core values and vision: to build a better future through human rights for all people,” says Rosilyn Houston, East Region retail executive at BBVA Compass.
Tickets became available through Ticketmaster on Aug. 16, with a limited number priced at $50. Proceeds will benefit scholarships in the names of the four bombing victims and additional educational initiatives.