Oral History Interview with James Armstrong

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This podcast is part of the series: BCRI Oral History Project

Multimedia Details Title: Oral History Interview with James Armstrong
Creator: James Armstrong
Submitted By: Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Informal Education Partner, Informal Education Partner
School/Organization:

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute


Overview:

James Armstrong was born in Orrville, Dallas County, Alabama in 1923.  After military service in Europe from 1943 to 1946, he returned to Alabama and worked in Selma and in Mobile, where he married.  Since 1953, Armstrong has been self-employed as a barber in Birmingham.   
 
Armstrong was a founding member of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR).  Beginning in 1957, the entire Armstrong family took a lead in Birmingham's efforts to end desegregation when Armstrong registered his children to attend school at Graymont Elementary, an all-White public school.  When the children were denied entry, Armstrong filed a lawsuit and a team of lawyers, including Arthur Shores and Constance Baker Motley, handled the case.  Six years later, Armstrong's youngest children entered and desegregated Graymont Elementary School.
 
Listen to Mr. Armstrong as he describes the day in September 1963 when his two youngest sons finally enrolled at Graymont Elementary. 


Length: 02:06
Content Areas: Social Studies
Alabama Course of Study Alignments and/or Professional Development Standard Alignments:
SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
14. Analyze the modern Civil Rights Movement to determine the social, political, and economic impact on Alabama.
  • Recognizing important persons of the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; George C. Wallace; Rosa Parks; Fred Shuttlesworth; John Lewis; Malcolm X; Thurgood Marshall; Hugo Black; and Ralph David Abernathy
  • Describing events of the modern Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, the Freedom Riders bus bombing, and the Selma-to-Montgomery March
  • Explaining benefits of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Brown versus Board of Education Supreme Court case of 1954
  • Using vocabulary associated with the modern Civil Rights Movement, including discrimination, prejudice, segregation, integration, suffrage, and rights
  • SS2010 (6) United States Studies: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    9. Critique major social and cultural changes in the United States since World War II.
  • Identifying key persons and events of the modern Civil Rights Movement
  • Examples: persons—Martin Luther King Jr.; Rosa Parks; Fred Shuttlesworth; John Lewis (Alabama)
    events—Brown versus Board of Education, Montgomery Bus Boycott, student protests, Freedom Rides, Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March, political assassinations (Alabama)
  • Describing the changing role of women in United States' society and how it affected the family unit
  • Examples: women in the workplace, latchkey children
  • Recognizing the impact of music genres and artists on United States' culture since World War II
  • Examples: genres—protest songs; Motown, rock and roll, rap, folk, and country music
    artists—Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Hank Williams (Alabama)
  • Identifying the impact of media, including newspapers, AM and FM radio, television, twenty-four hour sports and news programming, talk radio, and Internet social networking, on United States' culture since World War II
  • SS2010 (11) United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present
    14. Trace events of the modern Civil Rights Movement from post-World War II to 1970 that resulted in social and economic changes, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, the March on Washington, Freedom Rides, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, and the Selma-to-Montgomery March. (Alabama) [A.1.c., A.1.d., A.1.f., A.1.i., A.1.j., A.1.k.]
  • Tracing the federal government's involvement in the modern Civil Rights Movement, including the abolition of the poll tax, the nationalization of state militias, Brown versus Board of Education in 1954, the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Explaining contributions of individuals and groups to the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Martin Luther King, Jr.; James Meredith; Medgar Evers; Thurgood Marshall; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and the civil rights foot soldiers
  • Appraising contributions of persons and events in Alabama that influenced the modern Civil Rights Movement, including Rosa Parks, Autherine Lucy, John Patterson, George C. Wallace, Vivian Malone Jones, Fred Shuttlesworth, the Children's March, and key local persons and events (Alabama)
  • Describing the development of a Black Power movement, including the change in focus of the SNCC, the rise of Malcolm X, and Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panther movement
  • Describing the economic impact of African-American entrepreneurs on the modern Civil Rights Movement, including S. B. Fuller and A. G. Gaston (Alabama)