Carolyn Beard Wilson Interviewed on August 13, 1998

BCRI Oral History Collection
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00:00:09 - Introduction of Interview

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Ms. Carolyn Beard Wilson for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Oral History Project. I'm Dr. Horace Huntley.

Segment Synopsis: Interview subject is introduced.

GPS: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Map Coordinates: 33.516200, -86.813870
Hyperlink: BCRI Homepage
00:00:42 - Background and Family Life

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Partial Transcript: I just want to ask you a couple of questions about your family. Were you born in Birmingham?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson talks about where she is from, her siblings, and her mother and father's education.

Keywords: Collins (Miss.); Meridian (Miss.); New Hope Baptist Church; Piney Woods (Miss.)

Subjects: Lincoln University; Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (Birmingham, Ala.)

00:03:21 - Early Childhood through High School

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Partial Transcript: Now when you came to Birmingham, of course you don't remember when they brought you to Birmingham. This then becomes home. What do you remember about starting school?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses where she went to elementary school and high school.

Keywords: Legion Field (Birmingham, Ala.); Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (Birmingham, Ala.)

Subjects: Lincoln School; Parker High School

00:07:30 - Her Father's Impact on Her Childhood Experience

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Partial Transcript: Tell me now, you lived in the parsonage. Your family was, your father was the minister at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Which was of course a prestigious church. How did you relate to other children as a result of the status of your father?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson describes how her father's position in the church impacted her life.

Keywords: Carver Theater

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; Racism; Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (Birmingham, Ala.)

00:10:06 - Personal Memories of Racial Segregation

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Partial Transcript: I know that all of our parents attempted to shelter us from that massive thing we call segregation or whatever. Do you have any recollection of any incidents that may relate to segregation and race during your childhood?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson recalls a time when she experienced racial segregation.

Keywords: Alabama Theater

Subjects: Blacks--Segregation; Racism

00:11:58 - Pressure on Black Men and Black Boys

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Partial Transcript: Now, I know during any time in the history of this country that there is always a lot of pressure on Black men or Black boys. Were your brothers, did your brothers ever have any difficulty that say a girl would not have?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses the pressure placed on black men and boys, specifically her brothers.

Keywords: African Americans--Segregation; Racism

Subjects: Black Men and Black Boys

00:13:50 - Demonstrations of the Early 1960s

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Partial Transcript: Now, being really right downtown. You live in downtown, your church is in downtown. You were in close proximity physically anyway with many of the activities that were taking place particularly with, well, lets say in 1960, '61.

Segment Synopsis: Wilson recalls where she was at during the year of mass demonstrations.

Keywords: Miles College; Tuskegee University

Subjects: Freedom Rides, 1961; Mass Demonstrations

00:15:49 - Siblings' Involvement with Friends, the Quakers Fellowship Program

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Partial Transcript: For me, I missed being at home. That was my first time being away from home. By me not being at home I didn't do well with my lessons. I didn't do well at all.

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses her siblings' involvement with the Quakers Fellowship Program and how they moved away from Alabama.

Keywords: Kentucky; New York (N.Y.)

Subjects: Friends, Quakers Fellowship Program

00:18:08 - Involvement in SCLC

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Partial Transcript: I could be involved in anything else but not going down to the marches with the hoses or the dogs or going down to the University of Alabama, the police. Anything like that she said you will get hurt.

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses her participation in the SCLC.

Keywords: Huntsville (Ala.); The University of Alabama; Tuscaloosa County (Ala.)

Subjects: Dr. John Cashian; Southern Christian Leadership Conference

00:19:21 - Campus Life at Miles College

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Partial Transcript: Now, as the activities developed at Miles because I know Miles students were involved down here as well.

Segment Synopsis: Wilson recalls what it was like on Miles College campus during the time of mass demonstrations.

Keywords: Davis, Angela Y. (Angela Yvonne), 1944-; Stokey Carmichael

Subjects: Dr. Lucius Pitts; Miles College

00:20:50 - Anger Regarding the Discriminatory Treatment

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Partial Transcript: What are you angry about?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses how angry she is about the way she was treated.

Keywords: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Dr. P. Washington Coats

Subjects: Blacks--Segregation; Racism; Treatment of Blacks

00:26:27 - Desegregation and its Ramifications in the Workplace

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Partial Transcript: What did you do after Miles?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses her teaching experiences at all-white and all-black schools.

Keywords: Huffman High School; Kingston Elementary; McElwain School

Subjects: Desegregation; Racism

00:32:55 - Change in Alabama's Education System Over 30 Years

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Partial Transcript: So, you made the transition to high school. Over that 30 year period how has the system changed? How has education changed?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses how Alabama's Public Education system has changed in her years of teaching.

Keywords: Desegregation in Public Schools

Subjects: Alabama's Public Education System

00:35:53 - Reflection on Her Past

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Partial Transcript: If there were anything, if you had the ability to change any portion of your life going back through it. What would you change?

Segment Synopsis: Wilson discusses one thing in her life she would change if she could.

Keywords: McElwain School

Subjects: Desegregation; Treatment by Coworkers

00:39:51 - Meeting Her Husband

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Partial Transcript: I think the most and of course we had a lot of marvelous experiences being raised up in the church with our father being over us. Not only over us but everybody.

Segment Synopsis: Wilson recalls how she met her husband.

Keywords: African Americans--Marriage; Rev. Prichard

Subjects: Sixteenth Street Baptist Church (Birmingham, Ala.)

00:46:26 - Conclusion of Interview

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Partial Transcript: Well, I certainly appreciate your time.

Segment Synopsis: Interview is concluded.