Press Release - Detail
Press Release
For immediate release Thursday, November 12, 2015
CONTACT: Roy L. Williams, Director of Public Relations    
Birmingham Public Library                                               
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067                                                        
What: Book signing and talk by Birmingham historian Ed LaMonte on his new book, Change and Continuity: The Administrations of David Vann and Richard Arrington, Jr.
When: Sunday, November 15, 2015, 3:00 p.m.
Where: Central Library, Arrington Auditorium, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Admission: Copies of the book will be available for purchase for $15
For more information, call Jim Baggett at (205) 226-3631 or email

Birmingham Historian to Hold Talk and Sign Copies of New Book about the Arrington and Vann Mayoral Administrations on Sunday, November 15

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama—Birmingham historian Ed LaMonte will give a talk and sign copies of his new book, Change and Continuity: The Administrations of David Vann and Richard Arrington, Jr., this Sunday, November 15, in Arrington Auditorium in Central Library, 2100 Park Place downtown.      

In Change and Continuity, LaMonte explores a critical time in Birmingham’s history as the city transitioned from a white mayor—Vann—to the election of the first black mayor—Arrington—in 1979.  LaMonte shares his personal insight as a friend and colleague of both Vann and Arrington. LaMonte served as the executive secretary and an advisor for Arrington from 1979 to 1987.
Vann was Birmingham mayor for one term, from 1975 to 1979. Arrington was elected mayor five times, beginning in 1979, until he stepped down in 1999. Arrington became Birmingham’s first black mayor in 1979 thanks to a heavy black turnout after an unarmed black woman, Bonita Carter, was shot to death by a white police officer.
In an interview, LaMonte said the book touches on the racial tension after the Bonita Carter shooting and the uneasiness Arrington felt having to face a mayor, Vann, whom he respected and admired during their four years together as council colleagues from 1971 to 1975. Arrington’s election in 1979 in Birmingham—a city that was the center of the nation’s civil rights protests against its racist segregation laws in the 1960s—gained international attention.
“I had the unique opportunity to work closely with both men,” LaMonte said. “It was painful for Dick Arrington to face and defeat a man like David Vann, who he considered a friend.”
The book shares how during the Vann and Arrington administrations from 1975 to 1999, Birmingham transitioned from a city dependent on heavy manufacturing, especially iron and to steel, to a city with a more varied economic base focused on finance and healthcare. Birmingham grew physically and changed demographically as many whites left the city and it became a majority black community for the first time.
LaMonte said Change and Continuity evolved after he approached Jim Baggett, head of the Birmingham Public Library Archives Department, about writing an essay about the Vann Administration. Baggett suggested he turn it into a book. The Birmingham Public Library Press is publisher of the book.
Copies of LaMonte’s book will be available for purchase for $15. Refreshments will be provided.  For more information, contact Jim Baggett in the Birmingham Public Library Archives Department at 205-226-3631 or email him at

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