DeJuana Thompson’s perfect day in Birmingham, Alabama

DeJuana Thompson

Photo by Danny Austin Photography

As President and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, DeJuana Thompson’s mission is to preserve the history of the civil rights movement in Birmingham. That brings nonstop days filled with staff meetings about programs and exhibits as well as connecting with other city leaders. Here, she shares her ideal 24 hours in her hometown.

Rise & Dine
“I love the breakfast buffet at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa. They have made-to-order omelets, and the grits are really good. I order the Conecuh sausage. I promise you it is the best spicy smoked sausage that you can get, and it’s made in Alabama.”

Visitors to Birmingham will find panoramic views of the city at Vulcan Park

Photo by Art Meripol

Bird’s Eye View
“If somebody wants to see the best view of Birmingham, I send them to Vulcan Park. You can see the entire city—literally the entire city, for miles and miles and miles.”

Street Art
“We’ve got so much street art downtown and in some of our historic neighborhoods. I especially appreciate the mural of civil rights icon John Lewis on Fourth Avenue North. He was not only a freedom fighter on every level but also a mentor of mine and informed many of my views on advocacy.”

Angel biscuits at Helen

Photo courtesy of Helen

Power Lunch
Helen is a family-owned restaurant that I love. It’s always packed, but you can be here talking about business without feeling like anyone is in your business. They have these things called angel biscuits. They’re flakey and served with whipped cane syrup butter, and oh gosh, they are so good.”

The Pulse
“Second Avenue North has every kind of restaurant you can think of, a great wine bar called Aviné, and all these cool little tchotchke shops. One of my favorite places to buy clothes just moved there; it’s called ISHI? Boutique.”

Retail Therapy
“I have spent way too many days at Nadeau, a vintage furniture and restoration store. I love interesting furniture that has been repurposed. Going there reminds me that there can always be a different life for things that you think are no longer of use. That speaks to the way I think about a lot of things—giving something a second look and not taking things immediately as they seem.”

Dinner Spot
“I’m not a big seafood person, but Automatic Seafood and Oysters has a steak that is so good. It has a cool atmosphere, like a sunken living room with candles. It’s very Zen. They do a great mocktail version of everything on their cocktail list. I don’t drink alcohol, so I get to be a cool kid and have a mocktail while others have cocktails.”

Grand Finale
“I love the Eighty Eight piano bar. They have dueling pianos, and there’s a jazz night and an R&B night. They typically host incredible local artists, giving them an opportunity to showcase their talent.”

This article appears in the Winter 2024 issue of Southbound.

The post DeJuana Thompson’s perfect day in Birmingham, Alabama appeared first on Atlanta Magazine.

The president and CEO of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute shares how she would spend an ideal 24 hours in her hometown.
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