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kenjackson

kenjackson is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Birmingham, Alabama: Birthplace of a Movement

Thanks for this article. It brought back many memories. I grew up in Birmingham in the 1960's. I entered the first integrated high school in the city as a freshman. We were lined up behind a state trooper (with shotgun) on the first day of school to be escorted to our classrooms, while adults of both races shouted at each other. I was 13 them I'm 62 now. I remember it like it was this morning. I also, of course, remember the church bombing. We were told about in in Sunday school the same day. This changed after that. Not immediately, but inevitably. On a different note I remember the Hot and Hot Fish Club. It was a beer joint named the PLAZA. If food was offered, I don't remember anyone eating it, but it probably had pickled eggs and pigs' feet because every beer joint back then did. It certainly had a bumper pool table and a bowling shuffle board where beer fortunes were wagered and even more historically important...it had a PONG game. Your are right to acknowledge the Civil Rights Institute. I have one minor comment on the Institute's resitation of the inequalities between the black and white school experience: We both ate the same Dept. of Agricultural surplus food. Years later I laughed with my black collegues about the hominy, collards, goey butter beans, purple hot dogs and yams,sticky and sweet from karo syrup (and everthing except the jello cooked in pork fat). Two other places that help put Birmingham's early days in context are a history of mininig exhibit in Vulcan statue and the Shloss Furnace. Shloss is a disused iron works where you can learn about race relations in the early steel industry. Black workers could nt be promoted into any job which would require them to supervise whites.
— March 28, 2012 4:28 p.m.

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