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Myrtle Davis

Pharmacist and veteran city council member Myrtle Reid Davis was born on October 9, 1931 to Emmalee Reid, a teacher, and Carl Reid, a postal worker. Davis was raised in Rock Hill, South Carolina where she attended Emmett School Elementary and High School. After graduating from high school in 1949, Reid went on to attend Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana where she pursued her B.S. degree in pharmacy.

In 1953, Davis was hired at the Queens City Pharmacy in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1956, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she was hired by the Triangle Prescription Shop. That following year, she was married to activist and local physician, Dr. Albert M. Davis.

Throughout the 1960s, Davis served on the boards of numerous Atlanta based organizations including the League of Women Voters of Fulton County, where she served as president. She also served on the board of directors for the Gate City Day Nursery Association, and in 1970, she was elected to serve on the board of directors for the Atlanta Urban League. In 1979, Davis was hired by Leadership Atlanta where she worked as co-executive director for ten years.

In 1981, Davis ran for public office and was elected as a member of the Atlanta City Council. During her tenure on the Atlanta City Council, Davis served as chair of the Human Resources Committee, the Water and Pollution Committee and the Community Development Committee. Davis also served for five years as chair of the Finance Committee. Then, in 1994, after Maynard Jackson decided to leave his post as mayor, she became a candidate for mayor of the City of Atlanta. She later became the coordinator for the 1996 Atlanta Expo, and in 1998, Davis retired from city government as water utility manager for the City of Atlanta.

Davis’ other affiliations include the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta, the National Board of Girl Scouts, the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, the Task Force for the Homeless and the City of Atlanta’s Board of Ethics.

Davis lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her two daughters, Judge Stephanie C. Davis and Stacey Davis Stewart. Stephanie is a judge in the Magistrate Court of Fulton County, and Stacey is the senior vice president of Fannie Mae.

Davis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 28, 2008.

Accession Number

A2008.037

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/28/2008

Last Name

Davis

Schools

Emmett Scott School

Xavier University of Louisiana

First Name

Myrtle

Birth City, State, Country

Rock Hill

HM ID

DAV22

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Walgreens

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere

Favorite Quote

Treat Others As You Would Want Them To Treat You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

10/9/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Pharmacist and city council member Myrtle Davis (1931 - ) was a city councilwoman for the City of Atlanta, Georiga. She also ran for mayor of the city in 1993. Davis served as the coordinator for the 1996 Atlanta Expo, and in 1998, she retired from city government as the City of Atlanta's Water Utility Manager.

Employment

LaBranche’s Drug Store

Queen City Pharmacy

Triangle Prescription Shop

Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

Main Sponsor
Main Sponsor URL
Favorite Color

Brown

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Myrtle Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis describes her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes her parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis talks about her mother's childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis describes her community in Rock Hill, South Carolina, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis describes her community in Rock Hill, South Carolina, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis remembers segregation in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls segregation in Rock Hill, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis recalls her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis talks about her college education

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis describes her mentors during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis recalls her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis describes her early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her childhood aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis talks about her Catholic faith

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls her social life during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis recalls her preparation for college

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis talks about her childhood pastimes

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Myrtle Davis remembers the start of World War II

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls the entertainment of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis remembers her arrival at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis recalls her experiences at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis remembers the leadership of Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis describes her activities at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis recalls her classes at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers her professors at Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her internship at LaBranche's Drug Store in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis talks about Mardi Gras

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls her graduation from Xavier University of Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis describes her first impressions of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Myrtle Davis recalls how she met her husband

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Myrtle Davis remembers Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis remembers the community on Auburn Avenue during the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis describes her husband's civil rights activism in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis talks about her children

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis recalls her mother's civil rights activism in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Rock Hill, South Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes segregation in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers the Peyton Wall in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis describes the Collier Heights neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis remembers the events of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis recalls joining the League of Women Voters of Atlanta-Fulton County

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls her experiences of discrimination in the medical field

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis describes the integration of the medical industry in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis describes her role at the Gate City Day Nursery Association

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis talks about her work for the Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis remembers her involvement with her daughters

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes her role in the Leadership Atlanta program

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis remembers her older daughter's car accident and rehabilitation

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis recalls her younger daughter's college application process

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis remembers her campaign for Atlanta City Council

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her time on the Atlanta City Council

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Myrtle Davis recalls her campaign for the mayoralty of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon the mayoral leadership of Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Myrtle Davis remembers the support for her mayoral campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Myrtle Davis recalls her role at the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Myrtle Davis talks about her family

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Myrtle Davis describes her civic involvement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Myrtle Davis describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Myrtle Davis shares a message to future generations

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Myrtle Davis reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Myrtle Davis narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

9$2

DATitle
Myrtle Davis talks about her Catholic faith
Myrtle Davis describes her husband's civil rights activism in Atlanta, Georgia
Transcript
Now, you talked a little bit about church and your parents [Emmalee Williams Reid and Carl Reid] being Presbyterian, what church did your family attend?$$They were Presbyterians; both were very active in the church. And let me tell you how the whole intrusion of the whole--how Catholicism started in my life. My father got sick and went to St. Philip's Hospital [Rock Hill, South Carolina] and was--which was a Catholic hospital. And, of course, he had daily visits from, from the Chaplin there at the hospital who was a Catholic priest. And this Catholic priest was telling him about his plans to build a new Catholic church in the colored section of town which was Saint Mary's [Saint Mary Catholic Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina]. And that he needed someone to, to be an organist and asked him if he knew anybody. So my father said, "Well, my, my, my daughter Myrtle [HistoryMaker Myrtle Davis] plays. Maybe she would play for you." So he asked me if I wanted to do it and I said, "Well, sure, I'll do it." But, what my father used to do, we used to go to the 9:30 Mass and I would play and he would be outside waiting for me to take me to the Presbyterian church. Well, as time went on, and we did that for a long period of time where every Sunday morning he would take me to play at the Catholic church and then we would go to the Presbyterian church. Then it got to the point where I really liked the Mass and the Catholic church. And, they were a little bit disappointed I guess that I did not wanna continue in the Catholic church, but certainly they said it was my decision to make. My, my father said, "You're already female and you're already colored, why do you wanna add another thing to your, your life, another misery to your life to become Catholic as well?" But I hadn't looked at it like that. But there at that time, of course, in Rock Hill, South Carolina there were very few Catholics. There was one Catholic church, Saint Anne's [Saint Anne Catholic Church, Rock Hill, South Carolina] and, of course, St. Mary's was developed when I was in, in high school [Emmett Scott School, Rock Hill, South Carolina]. But, that was the whole motivation for my changing in, in religion from one to the other.$$How old were you?$$Well, I was actually, when I became interested in it, I was probably was fourteen, fifteen years old. When I actually was baptized or taken into Catholic church, it was my freshman year in college [Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, Louisiana].$$Okay. What was the name of the Presbyterian church?$$It was Hermon Presbyterian Church [Rock Hill, South Carolina].$$Okay, and the Catholic church again?$$St. Mary's.$$St. Mary's.$$Uh-huh.$$And so, you went through the religious instructions to be confirmed and first communion and (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's right, that's right. Actually, what happened was I had taken instructions at St. Mary's before I went to college, and I didn't finish. Well, when I came back my freshman year, was when I had my--when I was taken into the church. My confirmation took place in New Orleans [Louisiana] because I was a sophomore in college and it was occurring at the St. Louis Cathedral in, in New Orleans and they had a confirmation class. And that's where I was confirmed.$Now let's talk more about your husband. You get married and he's a very prominent physician, tell me about your husband and--'cause he's involved in a lot of different organizations and things here in Atlanta [Georgia] so tell me about some of his doings here in Atlanta (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, well he was, and particularly leading into the Civil Rights Movement. My husband was truly an activist. And I think if anybody had--if he'd had his, his--he made his own decisions about what he wanted to be I think he would have--first of all, he would have been a foot, football, football or basketball coach. He loved sports. But, in addition to that, he was truly a social activist. He became involved in, in causes and he was very active during, during the student movement [Atlanta Student Movement]. Supported the students entirely. He helped them get out of jail, he got out and picketed with them and so he was, he was that kind of person. I can remember one night in particular when he and [HistoryMaker] Dr. Clinton Warner and someone else went down to the old Heart of Atlanta Motel [Atlanta, Georgia], and they took bags and in the bags they had just packed towels, you know. They were gonna check into the Heart of Atlanta Motel because it was one of the places that, you know, just refused to open up. So they went down and, of course, they were arrested. So he did have--he had that streak of rebellion in him. I mean, he, he--there was, there was this need to, to make things better and he was gonna be a part of it. I mean, he--there was hardly a time that he ever sacrificed being out of his office but when something came up that he had to attend to that had a civil rights' nature to it, I mean, he was involved in that. There was a group of men who met on a regular basis to strategize and to support the students. And some of those people included Jesse Hill and--I'm trying to think of some of the early leaders in there but they were a lot of people on the Atlanta University [Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia] campus, professors on the--many doctors, folks who, whose certainly livelihood did not depend on, on jobs. I mean, they--there jobs were not threatened as a result of the actions that they took. But Albert [Davis' husband, Albert Miles Davis] continued to be active, he also became president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] and served in that capacity. In fact, I think he was serving as president of the NAACP when, when Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] was assassinated. I mean, with it came a lot of--well, lot of things to respond to at the time, I mean, other than the student unrest and meeting with the downtown business people about opening up businesses. And he and Sam Williams [Samuel Woodrow Williams], who was--Sam Williams was a pastor of Friendship Baptist Church [Atlanta, Georgia], were very instrumental in meeting with the Atlanta school board to help integrate the schools. So he was very much involved in all of the integration efforts going on at that time.$$Now, after you marry, you no longer work at the--as a pharmacist?$$I worked for a while, I worked until possibly I was carrying Stephanie [HistoryMaker Stephanie Davis] and I stopped after a while during my pregnancy.$$I'm sorry, I meant to ask you about your husband. You mentioned the Guardsmen [National Association of Guardsmen].$$Um-hm.$$What group was that?$$It, it's a social organization that still exists. But they started a, a chapter here in Atlanta and there were about thirty guys who got together and established an Atlanta chapter. And what it was, it was truly a social club but they had entertainment at the various cities where each chapter was located. It still goes on this way about four times a year. And, of course, the Atlanta parties were the parties that, that people liked to go to 'cause it was a, really a good time.$$

Joe Dickson

Joe Dickson was born on March 5, 1933, in Montgomery, Alabama, to Mary Rachael and Robert Dickson. Dickson was raised by his widowed mother and his aunt Gertrude; he attended a Catholic elementary school before the family moved to the projects in Birmingham in 1939. Dickson graduated from Fairfield Industrial High School in 1950, and worked as a welder until he entered the United States Army.

Dickson then enrolled in Miles College from which he received his B.A. degree in sociology. While at Miles College, Dickson was involved in the civil rights marches and selective buying campaigns; he was arrested along with Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth and other civil rights activists in front of the federal court house in Birmingham. In the 1960s, Dickson joined A.G. Gaston’s Washington Insurance Company as an insurance agent, working in six different counties. Dickson also worked with the Urban League and acted as the deputy director for an experimental demonstration project at Miles College that trained African Americans for jobs within the community.

In 1970, Dickson attended Howard University Law School from which he earned his J.D. degree in 1973. Dickson then returned to Alabama and formed his own real estate and construction company. Dickson was the President of the Alabama Republican Council for a number of years and was asked to work for the former governor of Alabama, Guy Hunt, as the Assistant of Minority Affairs in 1988. Dickson began working with the Birmingham World newspaper in 1987 and in 1989 returned to run the paper. Dickson married Dr. Charlie Mae Dickson; together they had eight adult children.

Dickson passed away on July 21, 2018.

Accession Number

A2007.106

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/22/2007

Last Name

Dickson

Maker Category
Schools

Fairfield Industrial High School

Robinson Elementary School

Miles College

Howard University School of Law

First Name

Joe

Birth City, State, Country

Montgomery

HM ID

DIC04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

3/5/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Birmingham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens, Fish

Death Date

7/21/2018

Short Description

Real estate entrepreneur and civil rights activist Joe Dickson (1933 - 2018) was involved in the civil rights marches and selective buying campaigns in Birmingham. Dickson later formed his own real estate and construction company, was the President of the Alabama Republican Council, and served as Alabama's assistant of Minority Affairs.

Employment

Urban League

Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Booker T. Washington Insurance Company

Vulcan Real Estate Investment Corporation

Century 21 Real Estate

State of Alabama

Birmingham World

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:240,70:14640,289:18480,363:47042,665:53184,765:56753,826:70530,1059:74850,1168:75170,1173:77250,1201:85060,1297:90820,1473:96220,1622:111820,1791:112520,1809:116580,1898:116860,1908:117770,1928:118400,1940:119240,1955:134562,2216:143770,2324:155212,2646:163148,2707:175566,2875:175936,2881:176972,2911:185450,3068:189660,3138:191768,3198:201590,3334:206765,3410:222970,3634:226956,3677:228252,3710:232330,3791:235710,3847$0,0:17776,609:19980,681:31425,950:40230,1224:43220,1324:98584,1874:105226,2017:109662,2066:114380,2152:124140,2383:135122,2499:173710,2998
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Joe Dickson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Joe Dickson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Joe Dickson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Joe Dickson remembers his maternal grandmother and great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Joe Dickson talks about his maternal uncles

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Joe Dickson describes his mother's occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Joe Dickson describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Joe Dickson remembers his homeschooling

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Joe Dickson recalls the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Joe Dickson remembers his relatives' deaths from pneumonia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Joe Dickson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Joe Dickson talks about his father's work ethic

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Joe Dickson remembers moving with his siblings to Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Joe Dickson recalls his attempt to run away from his aunt and uncle's home

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Joe Dickson remembers Robinson Elementary School in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Joe Dickson describes his experiences at Robinson Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Joe Dickson remembers his newspaper delivery route

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Joe Dickson describes his early personality

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Joe Dickson recalls Principal E.J. Oliver at Fairfield Industrial High School in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Joe Dickson describes his experiences at Fairfield Industrial High School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Joe Dickson recalls learning African American history at Fairfield Industrial High School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Joe Dickson describes the community of Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Joe Dickson recalls being drafted into the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Joe Dickson talks about claiming his mother as a dependent

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Joe Dickson remembers the racial tensions in the integrated U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Joe Dickson describes his training in the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Joe Dickson recalls qualifying for disability compensation from the U.S. Army

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Joe Dickson remembers seeing Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in a parade

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Joe Dickson remembers his decision to attend Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Joe Dickson describes his experiences at Miles College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Joe Dickson remembers joining the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Joe Dickson remembers his graduation from Miles College

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Joe Dickson describes the civil rights activities at Miles College, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Joe Dickson describes the civil rights activities at Miles College, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Joe Dickson recalls working at the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Joe Dickson remembers working at H.C. Bowhang

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Joe Dickson remembers his return to Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Joe Dickson talks about his first marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Joe Dickson recalls his difficulties at the Booker T. Washington Insurance Company

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Joe Dickson remembers working for the White Dairy Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Joe Dickson recalls the selective buying campaign in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Joe Dickson remembers marching with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Joe Dickson recalls his release from jail

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Joe Dickson remembers his offer to work for Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Joe Dickson remembers working for A.G. Gaston in Tuskegee, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Joe Dickson describes how he came to work for the Excel Superstores

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Joe Dickson recalls the attacks on Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Joe Dickson remembers being accused of stealing

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Joe Dickson remembers the job training program at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Joe Dickson remembers working for the Urban League's Project Assist

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Joe Dickson recalls working as an insurance salesman at Blue Cross Blue Shield

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Joe Dickson remembers the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Joe Dickson describes his wife and children

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Joe Dickson remembers a lesson from A.G. Gaston

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Joe Dickson recalls the start of his real estate career

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Joe Dickson talks about his real estate career with A.G. Gaston

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Joe Dickson remembers working as the gubernatorial assistant for minority affairs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Joe Dickson remembers leaving the office of Alabama Governor H. Guy Hunt

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Joe Dickson recalls his nomination to the State of Alabama's personnel board

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Joe Dickson talks about his realty company

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Joe Dickson remembers a lesson from his mother

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Joe Dickson describes his plans for the Birmingham World newspaper

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Joe Dickson recalls facing criticism as the owner of the Birmingham World

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Joe Dickson reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Joe Dickson describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Joe Dickson shares a message to future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Joe Dickson reflects upon the racial history of the United States

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$4

DAStory

1$10

DATitle
Joe Dickson recalls the attacks on Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth
Joe Dickson recalls his release from jail
Transcript
Okay. Before we go on to you managing Excel Superstores [ph.], right before you left Tuske- I mean to go to Tuskegee [Alabama], there was an incident with the kids in the park that you were telling about off camera.$$Well, what I thought I was telling you was that after the, the initial arrest being arrest and the sit ins were happening all over--all over the south and we were trying to integrate these lunch counters and the other restaurants and things. In the--in these department stores like Loveman's, Pizitz, they had a nice eating places in there. And so the kids were up there in the, the--they were--well we would let a senior student probably would take 'em up there to, to sit in and in these restaurants they had, you know.$$Um-hm.$$And you--as a consequence, it got out of hand. And so they called out and said that they were acting--the kids were acting kind of bad and for somebody to come up there and get them. So Fred [HistoryMaker Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth] went up there to get them. And I just was happening to be coming in at that time--'cause not coming in, I was coming, going about to go up there too. And so Fred had brought them from downtown, they were on 17th Street and he was on the left hand side coming, going north like you coming back to 16th Street Baptist Church [Birmingham, Alabama]. And right there at the--'cause Nelson Brothers Cafe [Birmingham, Alabama] was right there. And right time Fred got right there he had a white handkerchief in his hand. And he had right it--it was going--was going across--we was finna go--they were gonna go across the street and come down by the Masonic Temple [Masonic Temple Building, Birmingham, Alabama] on past the hotel and (unclear) and all that bunch down through there. And by the time he got right at the end, they put the water hose on him. They put the water hose on Fred, knocked him up against that wall while they was--and when he was coming off the wall another hose hit him and knocked him back up. Fred got up. Malcolm X was standing over on the other corner over there and when--when Fred got up, I don't see how. He got up and looked at him and several us said, "Don't put no more water on him." So he went on past and marched the kids on down past the hostess, the new (Unclear) hotel. And the new (Unclear) restaurant was the hotel up there. Walked on down there--there used to be a barbershop and was Ms. Lurleen [ph.] had her health and beauty aids stand right there. And some guys, tried to get in the--in the--they were keeping the kids in a single file march, keep, trying to keep it orderly. The streets were full. But they kept the kids in order to get them back in the church. Some black guys tried to get in the line and this white policeman told them, "You can't get in this line. You ain't worthy. You ain't good enough. You ain't good as these people." Said, "Get out move back." He was out--they were get in there after the kids have gone up on there and got in the line and marched back. They were gonna get in the line. The police said, "You ain't--you not good as these folk. Move back, move back." So when the kids got--when Fred got them across the street there--got all the children inside going in the church, Fred was going down in this little basement like thing on the right side that you can go down. Them folks put that water hose on Fred, about six or seven water hoses on him. And look like they tried to flood the basement. All I know is, I thought he was dead. They was trying to kill him with--Birmingham [Alabama] fire--firemen were trying to kill him. Fred survived that. I saw him over here yesterday. And that was--and I--and right after that I didn't--I didn't--I didn't wanna be nonviolent no more. That was--'cause that was--totally they didn't have to do that, you know.$So the next day the guy said, "[HistoryMaker] Joe Dickson all the way." I didn't know what he was talking about. So one of the guys in the--one of the criminals said, "All the way. Man, you going, you going. You getting out." I said, "All the way?" He said, "All the way mean you going and you getting out." I went out, they didn't say nothing, chewing gum didn't say nothing. Then another--another time we go to jail, I went to jail again they didn't say nothing. And the next time I went Piggy [ph.] told me he said, "Joe, we kind of want you on these debits and thing, you know, we need you to get some results for me. You made your--you made your witness. You can do that." Then I slip off and come over here and be with Dr. King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] and we would--then we went down in the poolroom, go to get the knives from people and so they wouldn't be cutting and beating on them. We went down there the police told us to get out. They ran us out the poolroom. They didn't want us in there. They didn't want us to bring no peace. So the last time I went to jail--I went to jail with N.A. Smith [Nelson Smith], he's dead now, John Porter. They had arrested everybody. All most of them were in jail. And weren't nobody out but Reverend Gardner [Edward Gardner] and he was the man that was getting folks out of jail. So I'm sitting next to John Porter, Reverend Porter I said, "Reverend," I said, "Reverend Porter, man it looks like they got us." I said, "Man, it's all over." I said, "They got us." And I said, "Martin in jail. Fred [HistoryMaker Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth] in jail. Ralph [Ralph Abernathy] in jail." All them folks in jail. I said, "Man," I said, "what we gonna do?" Porter told me this he said--he said, "Don't worry about it." He said, "Martin is dealing from on high." Same thing happened again. That next morning we still got all us thinking we gonna get on out, and the next morning, "Joe Dickson all the way." When I got over there to that office, Piggy was there. He said, "Joe you know the old man believe in what y'all doing." He said, "But we got a job for you in Tuskegee [Alabama]." He said, "We've already," (laughter), "talked to the lady down there. All you got to do is go down there and report. Don't get in no--don't go in no--just get in the--your car. Get in the car with an agent that rides and learn them debits. And so we can do some business down there." He said, "The old man believe this, that we need to do this. We need to fight this and everything is fine." He said, "But when they integrate, and if they integrate, if you go in there and buy a hamburger or a hotdog you gonna have to pay for it. So you go on to Montgomery [Alabama]. Pass on through Montgomery, you go to Tuskegee." And they sent me to Tuskegee to work (laughter).$$So it's--what year was this?$$It had to be around '64 [1964], '64 [1964]. Sixty--'64 [1964] or '65 [1965]. Maybe '64 [1964] or '65 [1965].$$Okay.