Rising from poverty and tragedy after losing both of his parents before the age of ten, Louis Pizitz came to America as an immigrant from Poland seeking the opportunity to start anew. Arriving in the harsh streets of turn-of-the-century New York City, this young Jewish settler would eventually find and seize that opportunity in Birmingham, Alabama, and go on to become a local legend. Founded in 1899, the Pizitz department store became Birmingham's most beloved retail landmarks, offering all the hallmarks of a bygone era of shopping--multiple floors catering to the needs of every shopper, a restaurant serving up local favorites, and lavish Christmas display complete with attractions for the kids. For over 80 years, even as stores were founded outside of Birmingham throughout Alabama, Pizitz nzver left family ownership. Yet Pizitz was more than a store, it was an institution, and Louis Pizitz stands as one of the most generous benefactors Birmingham history. Whether feeding striking coal miners in the 1920s, serving free Thanksgiving dinners during the height of the depression to Birmingham families black and white alike, or donating tens of thousands of dollars to local synagogues and churches, the Pizitz family has always put Birmingham first, and in turn, the city has always shown their gratitude. Indeed, in 1972 Vestavia Hills Middle School officially changed its name to Pizitz Middle School.
Rick Bragg in the Movies
Purchase the DVD of Alabama’s Rick Bragg: Out of the Dirt, including much bonus footage not seen in the original documentary.
Listen in on distinguished Alabamaians, local friends and family tell inside tales on Rick as a child and award-winning best-selling author. Rick also gives his life’s philosophy in many scenes. Find out about his mother’s poetry; hear his aunt tell of dressing him as a girl when he was a tot. If ever there was a priceless gift, this is it.
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