On this day in Alabama history: President Warren Harding visited Birmingham for semicentennial celebration

On this day in Alabama history: President Warren Harding visited Birmingham for semicentennial celebration
President Warren Harding speaking from the grandstand in front of the Tutwiler Hotel during a parade marking his visit for the Semicentennial of Birmingham in 1921. (Bhamwiki)

Oct. 26, 1921

President Warren G. Harding’s visit to Birmingham on Oct. 26, 1921, was the highlight of a weeklong 50th anniversary celebration at Capitol Park (now Linn Park). The president and first lady Florence King Harding, along with other dignitaries, took part in events celebrating the growth of Birmingham. Harding’s speech was notable because it was the first delivered by a sitting president in the South that called for political equality for African-Americans.

Harding and the first lady led a parade around the business district in a Premocar, manufactured by Preston Motors Corp. in Birmingham. After disembarking from the car at the Tutwiler Hotel, the president reviewed the remainder of the parade, which included Civil War veterans, National Guardsmen, industrial workers and the “Pioneers of 1861,” representatives of people living in the city when it was founded. It was estimated more than 100,000 people were on hand for the parade and in the park for the president’s speech.

During the day, Harding made remarks at a luncheon in his honor, viewed a Fashion-Industrial Exposition and a mine-rescue demonstration, laid the cornerstone of the Masonic Temple and toured the city by car. He made his final appearance at the Pageant of Birmingham in Avondale Park.

Harding said Birmingham welcomed him with the “greatest, warmest and most enthusiastic reception” of his term in office.

Read more at Bhamwiki

For more on Alabama’s bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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