Jeff Drew

Jeff Drew

Jeff Drew, the son of John and Addine “Deenie” Drew, grew up in the Birmingham neighborhood that became known as Dynamite Hill for the frequent bombings meant to intimidate the black families who had dared to buy homes there. Jeff’s father, with his Morehouse College classmate T.M. Alexander, had founded Alexander Insurance Agency, where Jeff Drew continues to work. As a boy, Jeff overheard strategy discussions when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., known to Jeff as “Uncle Mike,” stayed at his family’s home while planning the Birmingham campaign.  Jeff Drew is joining Birmingham’s year-long commemoration of events 50 years ago, and is dedicating himself to the work begun by his parents and their neighbors on Dynamite Hill.

Terrorism is nothing new to us

I can remember when the first black families tried to buy homes on the other side of Center Street, which marked Birmingham’s color line. If you wanted to get a house on the west side of Center Street chances are you were going to have some resistance from white folks. At first, the Ku Klux Klan would burn the doors of the houses that African-Americans moved into. Sometimes members of the Klan would fire shots into the dark of night. Those big cathedral windows were what were being shot at all of the time.

We all knew a dynamite blast was coming when we heard decommissioned police cruisers burning rubber up Center Street. Flying up the hill. (more…)