Katzenback v. McClung, commonly known as the Ollie’s Barbecue Case, is one of the most important Civil Rights cases of the 1960s. Last week the Birmingham Bar Foundation and Cumberland School of Law hosted a production re-enacting the events leading to the filing of the lawsuit and the government’s appeal of the District Court’s decision to the United State Supreme Court.
The event was free and open to the public, and over 850 students from area schools attended. Months of planning went into the event, which is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and a continuation of the Birmingham Bar Foundation’s Annual Oral Arguments Event. Christian & Small attorneys Deborah Alley Smith, Managing Partner, and Abbott Marie Jones were involved in the planning of the event.
The production began with a dramatic reading of a vignette entitled “It Began in Birmingham,” which was written by New York attorney and playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle, and was followed by the re-enactment of the Oral Arguments heard before the Supreme Court.
Playing the role of the Supreme Court Justices were The Honorable William H. Pryor, Jr., The Honorable Joel F. Dubina, The Honorable Karon O. Bowdre, The Honorable Sharon L. Blackburn, and The Honorable Abdul K. Kallon. Members of the local Bar, including the firm’s own Kenneth Simon, and actors from Samford’s theatre department and others performed the dramatic reading. Abbott Jones was the Narrator.
Concluding the event was a Panel Discussion moderated by Barnett Wright. Panelists included The Honorable Vanzetta McPherson; Mark Kelly, Publisher and Editor of Weld for Birmingham; Isabel Rubio, Executive Director of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama; Glennon Threatt, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Northern District of Alabama; and Alison Almeida, a student at Cumberland School of Law.
The mission of the Birmingham Bar Foundation is to encourage and unify the philanthropic and educational efforts of the Birmingham Bar Association for the betterment of our community and for the promotion of justice. Debbie Smith and Abbott Jones serve on the Board of Directors of the Foundation.