Floretta Tyson

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

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Mrs. Floretta Scruggs Tyson for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Oral History Project. I am Dr. Horace Huntley. We are at Miles College. It is May 5, 1995.

Segment Synopsis: Interview introduction

GPS: The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Map Coordinates: 33.516200, -86.813870
Hyperlink: BCRI Homepage
00:01:53 - Childhood and Family Background

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Partial Transcript: Let me just start by asking you a few general questions about your background. Tell me a little about your parents. Where were they from and what were their occupations?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson discusses her family and her childhood upbringing in Titusville.

Keywords: African Americans--Social conditions--To 1964; Birmingham (Ala.); Titusville

Subjects: African American families

00:04:00 - Education: Elementary through High School

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Partial Transcript: What elementary school did you attend?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson describes her childhood experiences attending school in Birmingham.

Keywords: Education, Elementary; Education, Secondary; Segregation in education--United States; Ullman High School; Washington School

Subjects: African Americans--Education

00:05:36 - Relationship with Birmingham Police Department

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Partial Transcript: What was your community's relationship to the Birmingham Police Department, do you remember anything in relationship to that?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson discusses the relationship between the Birmingham Police Department and her family/community.

Keywords: African Americans--Civil rights

Subjects: Birmingham (Ala.). Police Department

00:06:51 - Early Engagement in the Civil Rights Movement

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Partial Transcript: Let's talk a minute about the Movement. I know that at the time of the demonstrations in '63 you were probably a sophomore in high school. How did you and why did you get involved in the Civil Rights Movement?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson describes attending her first Movement meetings and participating in her first demonstration.

Keywords: African American youth; Mass meetings; Nonviolence; Protest movements--United States

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights--History--20th century; Civil rights movement

00:11:37 - Arrest and Time in Jail

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Partial Transcript: What do you remember about your arrest?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson describes her experience being arrested and in jail for nine days.

Keywords: African American youth; African Americans--Civil rights--History--20th century; Birmingham (Ala.). Police Department; Ullman High School

Subjects: 16th Street Baptist Church; Birmingham (Ala.). Police Department; Birmingham City Jail; Civil rights movement

00:16:16 - Family Response to Arrest/Jail

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Partial Transcript: And what was your mother's response or reaction when she came to get you?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson discusses her family's response to her time in jail, and her siblings' responses to the Movement.

Keywords: Birmingham City Jail; Civil rights movement

Subjects: African American families; Arrest (Police methods)

00:17:11 - Church Involvement in Movement

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Partial Transcript: What church were you a member of?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson describes her church and her pastor's active involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

Keywords: African Americans--Segregation; Birmingham (Ala.); St. Paul Lutheran Church

Subjects: African Americans--Religion; Ellwanger, Joseph

00:18:57 - School and Family Response to Arrest/Jail (Continued)

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Partial Transcript: After you and your friend were released from jail and you returned to school, what was that experience like? How were you received when you returned to school?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson describes reactions to her arrest/jail time, noting that she was temporarily expelled from school, and her parents sent her to live with family in Ohio for the summer.

Keywords: Civil rights movement; Education, Secondary

Subjects: African American families; Ohio

00:21:50 - Bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church

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Partial Transcript: Well, right after you returned from Cleveland the bombing of Sixteenth Street Church took place, can you share with us your feelings about the bombing?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson describes learning about the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, as well as her family and community's response.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.)

Subjects: 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing, Birmingham, Ala., 1963

00:25:24 - Reflections on Movement Involvement and Impact

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Partial Transcript: What benefits do you think that your community, your family, the city realized as a result of the Movement?

Segment Synopsis: Tyson reflects on the impact of the Movement, and how the Movement connects to personal experiences that she's had since that time.

Keywords: African American families; African Americans--Employment--Law and legislation; African Americans--Segregation; Racism--United States

Subjects: African Americans--Employment--Law and legislation; African Americans--Segregation

00:31:43 - Interview Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: All right. Well, Ms. Tyson I really want to thank you for coming and sitting with us today and sharing this information, because obviously giving it from the perspective of one who was young at the time is a little different than from people who are older. So,
again, thank you, we certainly appreciate your taking the time out of your busy schedule.

Segment Synopsis: Interview conclusion.