Birmingham Public Library
Mural - A New Day in Old Birmingham
A New Day in Old Birmingham

The mural titled A New Day in Old Birmingham by Ronald Scott McDowell celebrates Birmingham as a melting pot of ideas and cultures. It is located on the first floor of the Central Library. It was unveiled on August 15, 2003 during a ceremony.

About the Artist

Ronald Scott McDowell is a renowned international self-taught sculptor and visual artist. He is well known for his ability to create life-like pictorials, which master the range of human emotions and capture the essence of the human spirit.

He is one of the most sought after artists of his time. Locally, McDowell's works are on display at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Miles College, Jefferson State Community College, Lawson State Community College and others. He has created commissioned works for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and for Alabama Governors Don Seigelman and Fob James. He was commissioned to create sculptures in Birmingham's Kelly Ingram Park and Eddie Kendrick Memorial Park. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, is home to 50 of his portraits.

McDowell has a strong following of famous patrons including Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Bill Cosby, Dixie Carter, Lionel Richie, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, Barry Gordy, Jr., Maya Angelou, and former President Bill Clinton.

His talents have allowed him the flexibility of changing creative direction at any time. However, it is his devotion to God, that guides and inspires him. "I honor the gift God gave me," McDowell said. "This isn't about me... I'm [being used] to tell a story of a time, a place and a people," he added.

The City of Birmingham and the Birmingham Public Library Board are proud to hang this mural by a renowned multi-talented artist to depict forty years of Birmingham's history.

Ceremony - A New Day in Old Birmingham

The Birmingham Public Library is a cultural icon in the city of Birmingham. The wealth of knowledge it encompasses influences the lives of every citizen, business, and educational institution it serves. This knowledge is not limited by race, background, age or culture, because the library is the information place where everyone is welcome and encouraged to visit.

In the year commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham it is fitting that the Birmingham Public Library Board commissioned "A New Day in Old Birmingham."

This mural, celebrating Birmingham as the melting pot of ideas and cultures, is permanently located on the first floor of the central library downtown. Visitors from the United States and abroad will be able to view this magnificent historic work of art.

A project of this magnitude required the commitment of many people and organizations in this great city. Mayor Bernard Kincaid's leadership was the perfect catalyst to accomplish this idea. Twenty-seven Birmingham Neighborhood Associations as well as corporations and individuals strongly supported and endorsed this project. The teamwork and support of Mrs. Barbara C. Sirmans and staff and the City of Birmingham Community Development Department were essential to the completion of this project.

Thanks to all for their financial support, good wishes, and prayers for bringing to fruition this outstanding result of public and private partnership.


Alma P. Dennis, President
Birmingham Public Library Board
August 15, 2003

Mistress of Ceremony Shelia Smoot
Jefferson County Commissioner
Invocation Reverend Al B. Sutton, Jr.
Sixth Avenue Baptist Church
Welcome Elias Hendricks, Jr., Councilor
Birmingham City Council, District 5
Occasion Lillie M. H. Fincher, Historian
Library Board Member
Greetings Bernard Kincaid, Mayor
City of Birmingham
Reflections Rodger M. Smitherman, State Senator
Oliver Robinson, State Representative
Gwen P. Sykes, Councilor, Chair of Education and Community Services
W. L. Williams, Jr., President, Neighborhoods USA
Hezekiah Jackson, IV, President, Citizen's Advisory Board
Acknowledgments Alma P. Dennis, Library Board President
Unveiling Bernard Kincaid, Mayor City of Birmingham
Barbara C. Sirmans, Library Director
Marie Ingalls, Library Board Member
Alma P. Dennis, Library Board President
Response Ronald S. McDowell, Artist
Margaret Serra, Library Board Vice President
Closing Barbara C. Sirmans, Library Director
Mayor Bernard Kincaid
Neighborhood Associations
Brownsville Heights Hillman Park Roebuck
Bush Hills Industrial Center Roosevelt
East Brownville Inglenook Smithfield
East Thomas Jones Valley South Titusville
Fairview Kingston Southside
Five Points South Liberty Highlands Tarpley City
Glen Iris Mason City Tuxedo
Grasselli Heights North East Lake West Brownville
Hillman Penfield Park Woodlawn
Alabama Power Company Margaret Jones Interiors Sirmans' Realty, Inc.
Community Outreach Partnership Center Regions Bank Sixth Avenue Baptist Church
Compass Bank Serra Automotive Management SouthTrust Bank
Elected Officials
Senator Sundra Escott Representative Oliver Robinson Councilor Gwen P. Sykes
Senator Rodger M. Smitherman Council President Lee Wendell Loder Commissioner Sheila Smoot
  Council President Pro-Tem Carole Smitherman  
Individual Donations
Dr. William A. Bell Mr. Robert Dennis Mrs. Dora U. Sims
Mrs. Georgia Blair Mrs. Lillie M. H. Fincher Mrs. Barbara C. Sirmans
Ms. Irene Blalock Mrs. La Dennis, Gray, Gadsden, Alabama Mrs. Peggy F. Sparks
Mr. & Mrs. Darrell Blount Mrs. Willie Mae Hale Mrs. Gwendolyn B. Welch
Mrs. Minnie C. Booker Dr. Marie E. Ingalls Mrs. Barbara B. Williams
Mrs. Marie Chatman Bracy Mrs. Pamela O. Lyons Attorney W. L. Williams, Jr.
U.S. Representative Artur Davis Ms. Vickie Reynolds Mrs. Odessa Woolfork
Mrs. Alma P. Dennis Mrs. M. Margaret Serra  
Dr. William A. Bell, Representative Oliver Robinson
Commissioner Sheila Smoot
Neighborhood Certificates
Mrs. Peggy F. Sparks
Page Last Modified: 12/13/2017 2:21 PM