The Dirty South
During the times of the Civil Rights Movement the black communities of Birmingham, Alabama suffered severely due to the notorious acts of racism geared towards them simply because they were black. They boldly endured beatings, lynching, bombings, and demeaning treatment from the white community and especially from the Clan. The September 15, 1963 racially motivated bombing of the Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, which resulted in the deaths of four innocent black girls, was one of the darkest moments of the Civil Rights Movement and perhaps one of the darkest days in Birmingham, Alabama's history. Betty Blackman was born and raised in Birmingham. Her life was engulfed by the racism and left her with dramatically scaring memories of Birmingham.
I grew up in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. I was born there December 11, 1947. Most of the memories I have of growing up there are the most painful memories that I have, which is strong racism and living in every day fright.
I remember not being able to drink out of the cleaner water fountains around town; they were for the white people. The water fountains that were available to us were few, far between and very filthy. The black people were treated like dogs in Birmingham. I remember having to enter of the all stores and restaurants in town through the back entrances. One place I remember so vividly was a restaurant called Stadium Grill. We ordered food there every week while we were doing the wash across the street at the Laundromat. We enter in the back door into a very tiny poorly lit room. There were no tables or chairs for us to sit and eat there, it wasn't allowed. There was only a small window to which we placed our orders...