In June and July, more than 300 people answered survey questions about Birmingham history for our game show, Can You Repeat That? We covered the top five answers at the show. Here, week by week, we will publish the results of the other 20 questions.
It’s a simple question, but one that attracted 95 different answers. With 243 total responses on this survey question, it’s easy to see that no answer convincingly tops the list. To winnow the choices, we first applied a filter for humorous responses (weatherman James Spann, radio sports personality Paul Finebaum, and “Vulcan”), those imprisoned for corruption (Larry Langford, Don Siegelman, Richard Scrushy), and the completely irrelevant (Shakira, Geraldine Brooks).
Next, we looked at answers garnering four or more responses (excluding Mr. Scrushy, with 5). Of those, the top five answers are:
1) Condoleezza Rice
- 19; 2) Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth
– 15; 3) Nina Miglionico
– 6; 4) Sun Ra
, Richard Arrington
, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
– 5 each; and 5) Mayor William Bell
, Birmingham native and celebrated football coach Bobby Bowden
, Fannie Flagg
, David Vann
, and former NBA star and Leeds native Charles Barkley
It’s worth noting that Birmingham’s Arrington Middle School is already named for the city’s first black mayor, although responders perhaps thought it was time he was promoted. It is also worth noting that five people recognized the talents of the late Birmingham jazz artist, and Parker High School grad, Sun Ra. David Vann, the white mayor working behind the scenes to ease civil rights injustices, was described by one responder as an “unsung hero” of the city’s civil rights movement.