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Flora Washington Smith

Flora Washington Smith

BCRI Oral History Collection
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00:00:24 - Introduction to Interview

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Mrs. Flora Smith for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Oral History Project

Segment Synopsis: Flora Smith is introduced

Keywords: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Ala.)

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

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Partial Transcript: What part of the state are you from? Where were you born?

Segment Synopsis: Smith talks about how she was born in Hale County, Alabama and that her parents passed away when she was nine years old. Afterwards, she lived in Tuscaloosa County with foster parents and had foster brothers along with a close sister.

Keywords: Bessemer (Ala.); Birmingham (Ala.); Hale County (Ala.); Overton (Ala.); Tuscaloosa County (Ala.)

Subjects: African American families; Foster family

00:12:31 - Birmingham Community & Segregation

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Partial Transcript: Tell me, what part of Birmingham did you live in?

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes how the Birmingham church community gave her a social outlet when segregation in Birmingham affected her experiences with public transportation, dining, and entertainment venues.

Keywords: African American churches; Segregation in transportation--United States

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; Birmingham (Ala.)

00:19:22 - Getting Involved with the Movement

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Partial Transcript: At what point did you get involved with the Civil Rights Movement?

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes attending some of the first meetings organized by the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights.

Keywords: Birmingham Baptist College (Birmingham, Ala.); King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968; Sardis Baptist Church (Birmingham, Ala.); Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011

Subjects: Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights

00:21:28 - Call to Action from Mass Meetings

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Partial Transcript: In your activity with the Movement, you went to many mass meetings.

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes listening to the mass meetings conducted by Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, and how his preaching moved her to participate in a march to 16th Street Baptist Church.

Keywords: 16th Street Baptist Church (Birmingham, Ala.); Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011

Subjects: Mass meetings

00:27:26 - Arrest and Spending a Week in Jail

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Partial Transcript: And so you were arrested?

Segment Synopsis: Smith talks about her experience of being arrested and held in the city jail. She and the others who were arrested at the time were there for a week.

Keywords: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968

Subjects: Arrest--United States; Birmingham (Ala.). Police Department

00:33:53 - Social Consequences from Involvement in the Movement

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Partial Transcript: After you were released from jail, did you go back to the meetings?

Segment Synopsis: Smith recounts that after her arrest, she received criticism from people in her church community, but she continued to support the Movement by participating in the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Keywords: Mass meetings

Subjects: Selma to Montgomery Rights March (1965 : Selma, Ala.)

00:38:00 - Continuing Education

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Partial Transcript: And then you decided to complete your education.

Segment Synopsis: Smith describes how she spent time in Haiti as a missionary before returning home to begin nurse training at Bessemer State Technical School. However, she was turned down due to her age. Afterwards, she attended Miles College and graduated with a a degree in English when she was 77 years old.

Keywords: Bessemer State Technical College; Haiti; Miles College; Missionary life stories; Smith, Nelson, 1930-2006

Subjects: Adult learners, education, and training

00:44:44 - Being a Missionary at Miles College

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Partial Transcript: I was a missionary here.

Segment Synopsis: Smith talks about how she felt that she was a missionary at Miles College and a positive role model for all the students who attended classes and called her "Grandma."

Keywords: African American college students; Gibson, James A.; Greater Temple Missionary Baptist Church (Birmingham, Ala.)

Subjects: Miles College

00:48:08 - Conclusion of the Interview

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Partial Transcript: Thank you, Mrs. Smith for spending time with us today.

Segment Synopsis: Conclusion of the Interview

Keywords: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (Birmingham, Ala.)