courageous lawyer who advocated positive change, Miss Nina served on
the Birmingham City Council for 22 years. Because of her support
for women’s and civil
rights, a bomb, which did not explode, was placed on her porch in 1965,
cross was burned in her yard in 1974. In
1996 she was recognized by the ABA as one of the five outstanding women
in America that year.
Nina Miglionico was born in
Birmingham to Italian
immigrants, working in the family delicatessen and studying piano while
up. She graduated from Woodlawn High
School, completed her undergraduate education at Howard College (now
University) and earned her law degree at the University of Alabama.
She was one of the
first women lawyers in Alabama to start
her own practice after receiving her only job offer as a secretary
she knew how to type and would be willing to learn shorthand). Working diligently to build her own general
practice meant handling criminal cases, which required that she visit
in jail. Her mother would say,
lady doesn’t go to the jailhouse”, to which Miss Miglionico
“Mother, I’m not a lady; I’m a lawyer”.
She was the first
woman to be elected to the Birmingham City
Council as well as the first woman to be president of the Alabama
Municipalities. She was elected
president of the National Association of Women Lawyers in 1958 and in
the “Margaret Brent Award” from the American Bar
Association as one of the five
outstanding women lawyers in the United States. In
1959 she was a delegate to the American Bar
Association House of
Delegates, the only woman in an assembly of 250 lawyers.
President John F. Kennedy named her in 1961
to serve on an international committee on the status of women. In 1963 she received the distinction of being
named Birmingham’s Woman of the Year.
Miss Miglionico was
active in the American Association of
University Women and
served as vice chairman of the effort to obtain the right of jury
women in Alabama. She served as president
of the Alabama Merit System League, the Alabama Federation of
and Professional Women’s Clubs, and the Alabama Association of
Lawyers. She was one of the original
board members of the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame.
At various times she
served as information chairman for the
state on a committee supporting poll tax reduction, campaigned for
and pardon and parole laws, for better child labor laws, and for pure
Her support for
women’s rights and her progressive views on
race caused her to become a target for extremists.
A bomb, which did not detonate, was found at
her home in 1965 and a cross was burned in her yard in 1974.
She holds the
distinction of being the longest practicing
female attorney in the history of Alabama, having served for 73 years. At the time of her death she was senior
partner in the Miglionico & Rumore firm.
Miss Miglionico was
inducted into the Birmingham Gallery of
Distinguished Citizens in 2008 and the Alabama Lawyer’s
Hall of Fame on May 4, 2012.
Appreciation is expressed
to Samuel A. Rumore, Jr. for biographical