Sunday, August 17, 2008

Wrong Birmingham!

Seriously, how could a mistake like this not get noticed ahead of time?

Britain's second-largest city, Birmingham, has a new skyline — only it belongs to its Alabama namesake.

Birmingham City Council distributed 720,000 leaflets that praised residents for exceeding recycling targets, carrying a message that read: "Thank You Birmingham." The message appeared stamped across a photograph of the city's skyline. But the photo was not of Birmingham, England, but of Birmingham, Alabama.

A little QA/QC is a good thing, folks.

Anyway, I always knew that Birmingham, Alabama was named after Birmingham, England. But I never really gave much thought to other ways in which the two cities are similar:

While the cities have wildly different skylines, there are many similarities between the two - not least a proud industrial heritage.

Birmingham, Alabama - known as the Magic City because of its rapid 20th century growth - was founded on its steel industry. It took its name from the British manufacturing city known for making Jaguar cars and Cadburys chocolate. Both now have growing financial services sectors.

Both cities also share a history of racial tension. In Alabama, Birmingham was a center of 1960s civil rights protests by black Americans. In Britain, Birmingham has struggled with divisions between black and South Asian communities, which led to violent riots in the 1980s and in 2005.

The British city — whose sister city is Chicago — has a population of 1 million. The Alabama city's population is roughly 230,000.

Interesting. But it still doesn't excuse the mistake.

UPDATE: John's take is here. Thanks for the backlink, John!

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