Lola Hendricks Interviewed on January 19, 1995

BCRI Oral History Collection
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00:01:35 - Introduction to the Interview

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Partial Transcript: As you well know, what we're attempting to do is to develop, really, a history of Birmingham through the struggle with individuals like yourself who were participants of the Movement.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.)

Subjects: Civil rights movement

GPS: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Map Coordinates: 33.516405, -86.814532
Hyperlink: BCRI Homepage
00:01:53 - Family Origins and Background

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Partial Transcript: Let me first get a little background.

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks grew up in Birmingham, Alabama with one other sibling, a sister. Her parents never finished school. Her mother was a cook and her father was a truck driver.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.)

Subjects: Personal narratives

00:03:07 - Educational Background

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Partial Transcript: What about your education? How much education do you have?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks graduated from Parker High School then attended Booker T. Washington Business College for two years where she studied Business Administration and short-hand typing.

Keywords: Booker T. Washington Business College; Parker High School

Subjects: Education, Higher--United States

00:03:37 - Work History

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Partial Transcript: Then you were clerical.

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks started out her work career as a secretary and insurance clerk with Alexander & Company. She went on to work for the Social Security Administration and stayed there until 1967 when she went to work with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission until 1983. She eventually returned to the Social Security Administration in 1988 and worked until retirement.

Keywords: Alexander & Company; Clerical work; Social security--United States; United States. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Subjects: Federal government--United States; Job

00:05:21 - One of the First African Americans to Work for the Federal Government

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Partial Transcript: Well you started working at Social Security in the mid [19]60's. That meant that you were probably one of the first.

Segment Synopsis: Wright describes first being hired to work for the federal government and the warnings given to white workers about being fired if they opposed the integration.

Keywords: Work Force Integration

Subjects: Federal government- United States

00:06:47 - Blacks Forced to Take Tests for Jobs or the Right to Vote

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Partial Transcript: Did you have to take a test?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks had to pass a test in order to put on the register and later selected to work for the federal government. She describes how black people were subjected to test-taking for jobs and the right to vote. Many black people who passed the tests were put on the personnel registers but never selected for work.

Keywords: Johnson, George; McPherson, Jonathan; Miles College

Subjects: Ability testing

00:08:00 - The Communities of Southside and Norwood & Titusville

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Partial Transcript: What community did you live in during the time that you were growing up?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks describes growing up in the low-income Southside and Norwood communities which were all black. After she got married, she moved to Titusville which was a higher income community with a black park. She describes the occupations that the community members held.

Keywords: Norwood (Birmingham, Ala.); Southside (Birmingham, Ala.); Titusville (Birmingham, Ala.)

Subjects: Birmingham (Ala.)

00:10:46 - The Birmingham Police Department

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Partial Transcript: What was your community’s relationship to the Birmingham Police Department?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks describes the Birmingham Police Department as aloof and never around in the early years of the Movement. She states that she never saw policemen in the neighborhoods she lived in. She states that police-community relations have improved since the Civil Rights Movement.

Keywords: Civil rights movement; Police-community relations

Subjects: Birmingham (Ala.). Police Department

00:11:31 - Involvement in Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights & Mass Meetings

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Partial Transcript: Were you a member of any community organizations after you grew up, particularly in
the Titusville area?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks describes her involvement in organizations such as the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, Southern Conference Educational Fund, the NAACP. She had the role as a Correspondence Secretary for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights. She describes mass meetings at Sardis and New Pilgrim Baptist churches. She says she was never fearful to be part of the meetings.

Keywords: NAACP; New Pilgrim Baptist Church; Sardis Baptist Church; Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Southern Conference Educational Fund

Subjects: Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights

00:13:59 - Reason for Joining the Movement

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Partial Transcript: How and why did you get involved in the Civil Rights Movement?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks describes a brutal story of a black man who was castrated at the hands of white men in Tarrant City. This story upset her and made her want to get involved in the Movement.

Keywords: Tarrant City (Ala.)

Subjects: Civil rights movement

00:14:49 - The Treatment of Black People on Buses

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Segment Synopsis: Hendricks describes how black people were forced to sit behind the 'Colored' board on buses in Birmingham, Alabama. Bus segregation bothered her. She wanted to be like Rosa Parks.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.); Parks, Rosa, 1913-2005

Subjects: Blacks--Segregation

00:15:42 - Role as Corresponding Secretary in the Movement & Assistant to Dr. King's Staff in 1963

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Partial Transcript: So when you got involved in the Movement, what role did you play?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks describes her active role as corresponding secretary for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, and how she was able to assist Dr. King when he visited Birmingham in 1963.
Among the things she did as part of the Movement, she and her husband also filed a lawsuit to integrate parks in Birmingham in the 1950's.
Her role as corresponding secretary led her to work closely with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth answering mail and gathering funds for speaking engagements he would be involved in. She filled this role from 1956 to 1963.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.); Corresponding secretary; King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968; Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011; Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Southern Conference Educational Fund; Walker, Wyatt Tee

Subjects: Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights

00:18:21 - Mass Meetings, Key Speakers, & The Birmingham Police Department's Presence

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Partial Transcript: So, obviously, you attended the Mass meetings on a regular basis?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks discusses the mass meetings that occurred on Monday evenings. The meetings were often lead by local Birmingham ministers such as Fred Shuttlesworth and Abraham Woods. She describes how the meetings differed from the ones held by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963.
She describes how Birmingham police officers attended the mass meetings for note-taking and intimidation purposes.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.); Connor, Bull; Gardner, Edward; King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968; Lane, T. L.; Parnell (Rev.); Phiffer, J.S.; Reese, Carlton; Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011; Smith, N.H.; Thomas (Rev.); Woods, Abraham

Subjects: Birmingham (Ala.). Police Department; Civil rights movement

00:22:10 - Reverend Wyatt T. Walker & Project C

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Partial Transcript: Reverend Wyatt T. Walker told me that I knew the people locally and that he wanted me out. He didn'twant me in jail, so I had to work with him directly.

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks worked closely with Wyatt T. Walker on Project C. She put him in touch with ministers and business people and showed him the various locations intended for demonstrations within the city of Birmingham.

Keywords: A.G. Gaston Motel; Civil rights demonstrations; Project C; Young, Andy

Subjects: Walker, Wyatt Tee

00:24:18 - Tour of the Northeast with the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCLC)

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Partial Transcript: During 1962, during the selective buying campaign, you did some traveling. Can you tell me about that?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks toured the Northeast in 1962 gathering support and funds from interested followers of the Movement who wanted to give back to the cause. She toured New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Brandais University.

Keywords: Boston (Mass.); Braden, Carl, 1914-1975; Brandais University; Davis, Angela Y. (Angela Yvonne), 1944-; Melish, William Howard, 1910-; New York (N.Y.); Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subjects: Southern Conference Educational Fund

00:26:37 - Family Involvement in the Movement & Daughter's Time in Jail

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Partial Transcript: Did others in your family participate in the Movement?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks discusses her family's active participance in the Civil Rights Movement. At one point, her nine year old daughter was taken to jail. She describes how masses of children were kept in Juvenile during that time.

Keywords: Arrest; Civil rights demonstrations

Subjects: Civil rights movement

00:29:22 - Church Involvement in the Movement

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Partial Transcript: What church were you a member of?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks was a member of New Pilgrim Baptist Church. The congregation was very active during the Movement. The pastor was a secretary for the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and went to jail on two occasions. Mass meetings were held at the church building.

Keywords: Church meetings; New Pilgrim Baptist Church

Subjects: Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights

00:30:14 - Benefits and Assessment of the Movement

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Partial Transcript: What benefits did you, your family, and community realize as a result of the Movement?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks states that the Movement opened many doors that were not open to black people before in Birmingham, and it created unity among the Blacks. She would not change anything about the Movement if she could. It broke down barriers of segregation and created job opportunities for black people.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.); Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011

Subjects: Civil rights movement

00:32:24 - White Involvement in the Movement

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned that there were Whites that were involved in the Movement?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks talks about the White people who donated to and demonstrated with the Blacks in Birmingham. One white attorney, Charles Morgan was active in the movement as well as a minister, Reverend Lamar Weaver who sat with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth and his wife at the terminal station. Many white supporters were afraid to be too visible for fear of their lives during the Movement.

Keywords: Morgan, Charles; Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011; Weaver, Lamar

Subjects: Civil rights movement

00:33:58 - Relationship to Angela Davis

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned that in 1962 you went to Brandais and you saw Angela Davis. How did
you know Angela Davis?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks met Angela Davis after the meeting at Brandais University in 1962. They discussed the horrible events occurring in Birmingham, Alabama, Angela Davis' hometown.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.); Brandais University

Subjects: Davis, Angela Y. (Angela Yvonne), 1944-

00:34:45 - The Betterment of Birmingham & Non-involvement in the Bus Rides of 1956-1958

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything else that you would like to add that we have not dealt with that relates to the Movement and how it actually evolved at the time?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks states that she is proud to have been part of the Movement and she believes Birmingham is a much better city to live in post-Movement.

She states that she was never involved any of the bus demonstrations that took place during 1956-1958 with Reverend Shuttlesworth.

Keywords: Civil rights demonstrations; Civil rights movement; Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011

Subjects: Birmingham (Ala.)

00:36:05 - Lawsuit to Desegregate Parks in Birmingham

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me just a little in conclusion about the suit that you and your husband hadagainst the Park Board?

Segment Synopsis: Hendricks and her husband filed a lawsuit against the Park Board in Birmingham, Alabama. Eventually laws changed and the parks were desegregated.

Keywords: Desegregation; Lawsuit; Park Board; Shuttlesworth, Fred L., 1922-2011

Subjects: Birmingham (Ala.)

00:36:51 - Conclusion to the Interview

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Partial Transcript: I certainly do thank you for coming out today and sitting with me.

Keywords: Birmingham (Ala.)