December 15, 2020
Dr. Ben Carson stood in front of Birmingham’s Linn Park Christmas tree on Tuesday morning and announced a $2.9 million federal grant to study the best location for a proposed Global Forum for Freedom and Justice campus in Birmingham that will be a “gateway to the civil rights trail.”
The original plans called for a hotel and conference complex near Birmingham’s civil rights district, which includes the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.
The forum is the brainchild of millionaire philanthropists Wayne and Catherine Reynolds, who are planning to move to the Birmingham metro area to see their idea through.
The grant will be from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Reynolds said today the study of where to put the campus would take up to 18 months and he hopes to have a building within three to five years, despite a chilly reception and resistance from some of Birmingham’s civil rights establishment who said it was not a fit in the district.