MONUMENT TO FOOT SOLDIERS BY JAKLITSCH/GARDNER ARCHITECTS



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The year 2013, marks the 50th Anniversary of the Birmingham Civil Rights Campaign. In commemoration of the momentous events that changed the course of history, a national design competition was called for a Monument to Foot Soldiers.


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It is a monument meant to honor the legacy of the contributions and sacrifices made by unnamed activists in the civil rights struggle and to celebrate the ultimate triumph of unity and the human spirit. These Activists were numerous, selfless and unrelenting in their demand for equal rights and fair treatment from American society.


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Without civil disobedience in the face of injustice, past sacrifices can go unheard without reminders to be vigilant. The project, designed by Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, seeks to be a fitting memorial to past deeds, acting as a gateway to a "place of revolution and reconciliation." It is a vessel of memory that will carry its message of encouragement, sacrifice, and non-violent action to a future Birmingham.


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Standing tall within Kelly Ingram Park, located in downtown Birmingham, the Monument to Foot Soldiers takes a cylindrical form created by a stainless steel lattice structure in-filled with glass and metal panels of varying textures and opacities. The glass sparkles and reflects light throughout the day and at night refracts light to shine like a lantern.


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Along the park’s path, openings on two sides peel away and act as a gateway to the monument’s interior and the Park beyond. The interior of steel structure is lined with text gathered from songs of freedom—songs that strengthened the resolve of ordinary men, women and children to stand together. At the monument's center, sits a granite bench inviting visitors to reflect and contemplate as they are wrapped in the material surround and can gaze upon the open sky.