Alabama Public Television To Air Miglionico Documentary

Published on February 6, 2017 by William Nunnelley  
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Nina Miglionico, a 1933 graduate of Samford University, was revered as an activist for social justice and was the first woman to serve on the Birmingham City Council. She was elected to the council in 1963, and one of her first acts was to vote to repeal Birmingham’s segregation ordinances.

After graduating as valedictorian of her Samford class, she attended the University of Alabama Law School and became a lawyer. She ultimately practiced for 73 years, until her death in 2009, advocating for women to serve on juries and for other progressive causes such as child labor laws, prison reform and elimination of the poll tax.

Alabama Public Television (APT) will air a documentary, Stand Up, Speak Out—The Nina Miglionico Story,  Sunday, Feb. 19, at 5 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. The hour-long film was produced and directed by Jenna Bedsole, a practicing attorney with the firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz.

“She practiced law during a time when there weren’t many women in the field,” Bedsole told Super Lawyers magazine. “Her strength and courage really inspired me.”

Miglionico was elected to Birmingham’s first City Council, voted in after the city changed its form of government to moderate its violent opposition to the Civil Rights Movement. Her unflinching stance against segregation made her a target. In 1965, just before her first reelection, a dynamite bomb was left on her front porch. Later, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in her front yard. She was a member of the council for 23 years, becoming the first woman to serve as its president in 1978.

Miglionico also served as president of the Alabama League of Municipalities and the National Association of Women Lawyers. She received the Margaret Brent Award from the American Bar Association given to outstanding women lawyers in the U.S., and was chosen Birmingham Woman of the Year. She was named Samford’s Alumna of the Year in 1970.

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ABOUT SAMFORD UNIVERSITY -- Samford University is a premier nationally ranked private university deeply rooted in its Christian mission. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th oldest institution of higher education in the United States. U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 3rd among regional universities in the South. Samford enrolls 5,509 students from 45 states, the District of Columbia and 29 other countries in its 10 academic units: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy, and public health. Samford also fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.