Joel S. Boykin Jr. Interviewed on March 22, 2001

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

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Dr. Joel Boykin with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's Oral History Project. I'm Dr. Horace Huntley, today we're at the Civil Rights Institute, and today's date is March 22, 2001. I want to thank you Dr. Boykin taking the time out of your busy schedule and welcome to the institute.

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

GPS: The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Map Coordinates: 33.5161, -86.8145
Hyperlink: BCRI Homepage
00:00:29 - Family Background

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Partial Transcript: Let me just start by asking you some general questions; were you born in Birmingham?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin goes into his family's education, where they were from, how many siblings he had, and how they came to be in Birmingham where he was born.

Keywords: Community gardens; County Schools; Dentistry--Practice; Gardens; Parents; Sibling; Teacher

Subjects: Alabama State University; Bessemer (Ala.); Birmingham (Ala.); Holly Springs (Miss.); Livingston (Ala.); Memphis (Tenn.); New Orleans (La.); Parker High School (Birmingham, Ala.); Rust College; Walden University (Nashville, Tenn.). Meharry Medical Department

00:04:23 - Early Education- Tuggle Elementary

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Partial Transcript: Oh okay. Now where did you start first grade?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin discusses his time going to Tuggle Elementary school, and how at the time they had dormitories that kids from out of town could stay in while attending.

Keywords: African American Schools; Black owned; Dormitory life

Subjects: Enon Ridge School (Birmingham, Ala.); Eufaula (Ala.); Great Depression; Masonic Temple; Tuggle Elementary (Birmingham, Ala.)

00:06:29 - Early Education- Parker High School

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Partial Transcript: So when you left Tuggle School, where did you go?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin talks of his time going to Parker High School and how coming from a doctors son he had higher standards than the school was teaching.

Keywords: Illiteracy; Literacy; Superintendents; Teaching

Subjects: Parker High School (Birmingham, Ala.)

00:08:15 - College and Military Service

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Partial Transcript: Did you live on Fountain Heights?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin discusses started college at Morehouse, then being drafted, and afterwards going back to school.

Keywords: Draft--United States; Military service, Voluntary--United States; Pretty Girls

Subjects: Camp Lee (Va.); Central Tennessee College. Meharry Dental Department; Fort Benning (Ga.); Fountain Heights (Birmingham, Ala.); Military camps--California; Military--Florida; Military--Guam; Morehouse College (Atlanta, Ga.); Tuskegee Institute

00:13:25 - Coming Back to Birmingham and Teaching

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Partial Transcript: Well before yet that, what-when you left Morehouse, did you come back to Birmingham?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin explains how when he got out of school he taught but also how people urged him to go back to get a higher education.

Keywords: Education, Higher--United States--Planning; Graduate School

Subjects: Birmingham (Ala.); Bullock County (Ala.); Lincoln (Ala.); Miles Community College; Morehouse College (Atlanta, Ga.); Parker High School (Birmingham, Ala.); St. Clair County (Ala.)

00:15:47 - Bombing Of Father's Home in Fountain Heights

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, so I ended up going out to(?). After the fall I got into Meharry, got a master degree in science at Atlanta University, but I was determined I was going to get-I was through with the school system. Because there it was too many little(?) of all kinds, it's going to be this way or no way. I didn't see that as being the right way, even in Bullock county down there, it was called then, they bombed my father's house that particular year, 1950, April of '50-

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin talks about the time his father's house got bombed in Fountain Hills area of Birmingham, Alabama.

Keywords: Bombings--Alabama; Newspaper reading; Rebuilding

Subjects: Bullock County (Ala.); Fountain Hills (Birmingham, Ala.); Herald Printing Company; Meharry Medical College. School of Dentistry; Siapan, Guam

00:18:58 - Dental School

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Partial Transcript: Did you go into dentistry because of your father?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin mentions about his time going to school for Denistry, and how there were more black people in the medical profession than there were in the legal profession.

Keywords: African American Dentist; Black Dentist; Black professions; Father's Footsteps; Med school

Subjects: Alabama; Bessemer (Ala.); Meharry Medical College. School of Dentistry; Tennessee

00:21:41 - Starting in the Movement

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Partial Transcript: When you got back here in 1957, that is in the heat of things; what was happening when you get back? When Shuttlesworth took his children to Phillips High School.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin talks about being a part of the movement and discussing Fred Shuttlesworth's role.

Keywords: African Americans--Segregation; Meetings; Non-violent protest

Subjects: 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala.; Bull Connor--Public Safety Commissioner--Birmingham, Ala.; Phillips High School-- Birmingham, Ala.; Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011

00:25:48 - Participation in Demonstrations

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Partial Transcript: Not then, okay, did you ever participate in the demonstrations?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin discusses his role in the demonstrations by bailing people out of jail who had gotten arrested by the police for protesting.

Keywords: Bail Bondsmen; Civil rights demonstrations--Alabama; Shotguns; jail; property

Subjects: Birmingham News; Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011

00:28:59 - Armed Guards During Nonviolent Protest

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Partial Transcript: That's another question people ask about the nonviolent movement, that I've talked to people and they were always those that stood guard at the various homes and churches and were armed, did you have any knowledge of that?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin Talks about having armed guards stand at some churches and houses due to unwanted threats from people in the community who were trying to stop their nonviolent movements.

Keywords: Armed Forces--Safety measures; Non-Violent Movements

Subjects: Dynamite Hill; The Ku Klux Klan

00:31:00 - Wife's Involvement in The Movement

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Partial Transcript: You've married, had a family-

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin explains his wife's role as a community organizer by being the director of OEO, as well as helping to start the offices of Economic Opportunity, and being head of social work.

Keywords: Community Organizer; Family Involvement; Social Worker; Wife

Subjects: Office of Economic Opportunity

00:32:53 - Relationship With Martin Luther King Jr.

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Partial Transcript: As Martin Luther King came in and out of town, you say you would see him periodically; did you every have any relations with-?

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Joel Boykin mentions his relationship with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, by being from the same school of thought.

Keywords: All (Philosophy); Follower

Subjects: Ghandi; King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968

00:34:40 - Interview Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Well you've been very helpful, I certainly appreciated you taking time out of your schedule to come and sit and talk with us and you've clarified some things for me today.