The Birmingham Pledge

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I believe that every person has worth as an individual.

I believe that every person is entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of race or color.

I believe that every thought and every act of racial prejudice is harmful; if it is my thought or act, then it is harmful to me as well as to others.

Therefore, from this day forward I will strive daily to eliminate racial prejudice from my thoughts and actions.

I will discourage racial prejudice by others at every opportunity.

I will treat all people with dignity and respect; and I will strive daily to honor this pledge, knowing that the world will be a better place because of my effort.

Birmingham Pledge Week is held each September and includes a bell-tolling ceremony and memorial service at The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where 39years ago, a bomb set by Ku Klux Klansmen killed 11-year-old Denise McNair and three 14-year-olds: Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins.


Brigadier Luther Smith also holds the rank of colonel in the Civil Air Patrol.

The Birmingham Pledge is the brainchild of the town’s Community Affairs Committee (CAC), formed in 1969 to promote racial harmony in Birmingham and its surrounding communities.

Brigadier Luther Smith, 88, of The Salvation Army has been a member of the CAC since 1971 when he was the Army’s Birmingham Area Commander. “We [the CAC] meet every Monday at seven-thirty in the morning,” Smith said. He feels The Salvation Army’s holistic ministry sets a great example for race relations.

“Discrimination is just fundamentally wrong; what we look at is the need of a person, not their color.”

The Salvation Army Birmingham Area Command runs 14 different programs, ranging from a home and school for at-risk children to a transitional housing complex for homeless families.

— Veleka P. Finch
Reprinted from Caring Magazine

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