With the help and encouragement of their teachers, students submitted entries celebrating Birmingham's diverse culture, addressing challenges of the past and looking forward to the future.
The winning poem, "Still, My Steel City," was written by Phillips Academy eighth grader Trysten Manning. In addition to winning first place, Trysten read his poem during the sign lighting event at Protective Stadium with Governor of Alabama Kay Ivey and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin in attendance.
Read Trysten's poem below.
Still, My Steel City
by Trysten Manning
Birmingham, my Steel City!
Resting above three of the world’s cherished minerals:
Limestone. Coal. Iron.
In my Steel City,
Children of all hues and ethnicities,
Side by side because brave warriors battled against injustice.
Shuttlesworth and other activists,
Dr. King’s letter from a cell in the Birmingham jail
Captured the mandate for equality,
For peace and prosperity.
My Steel City began in 1871.
Hearts once filled with aversion and hostility,
Evolved to gift our children a sanctuary.
We have come so far.
From Phillips to Miles,
My Steel City spreads love from all generations.
Forged from my Steel City,
The first Black Mayor in Alabama,
From the Barons gold star Willie Mays
To Condoleezza Rice leading foreign affairs,
Our people filled with Magic.
My Steel City!
Sharing culture from cookouts to tailgates to faith.
Not in ‘Bombingham’ or ‘Burningham’,
Where the warmth of unity,
Keeps us stronger together.
Look at Vulcan,
Symbol of strength, hope, peace, faith
For our Birmingham citizens.
Protect my city.
Protect our people.
OUR Steel City.