Birmingham () - The largest inauguration party ever held in the city of Birmingham brought revelers and well-wishers by the millions to the city center, according to unofficial crowd estimates. Hundreds lined up at Boutwell Auditorium well before the 8:00 am opening for their chance to take part in the celebration dubbed "Where History Meets Hope," a reference to the nearby Hope VI development.
Mayor Larry Langford gave a rousing speech entitled "Resting on the Laurels of the Foot Soldiers." In the sometimes rambling 20 minute speech, Langford praised President Obama for his skin color and his accomplishments. He blasted those that questioned giving city employees the day off to celebrate the inauguration. "If one more day off is gonna cripple the city, then the city's already crippled!"
For the most part the crowd was well behaved and non-threatening. Police Chief A.C. Roper commented on the crowd during his speech. "I am so pleased to see so many African-American faces in a place where, not too many years ago, they weren't even allowed to be. I am also pleased that there have been no homicides as yet."
Later in the evening, Artur Davis gave a speech at the Civil Rights Institute to kick off a black tie gala. Standing in front of a new sculpture bearing the likenesses of an amalgam of different black preachers, Davis announced a new commemorative coin from the Franklin Mint. "Finally change
has come to Alabama! Let's not let that change stop with Obama!" Davis fell short of declaring his candidacy for governor, but was accepting tips for tending bar.