This podcast is part of the series: BCRI Oral History
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Florida Hamilton was born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1925 and reared in Birmingham. After graduating from Parker High School, she married a minister. Hamilton cared for her family while working for local physicians and with the Children's Aid Society. Encouraged by her best friend from church, Hamilton began attending mass meetings in the early 1960s. She took her children along. The entire Hamilton family was involved in meetings, marches, and demonstrations. In Fall 1964, one year after two Black students had integrated and graduated from Birmingham's West End High School, Reverend and Mrs. Hamilton enrolled their daughter, Carrie, in the school. Carrie was the only Black student in the school, for other Black families who had planned to send their children opted out before the first day of school. Listen to Florida Hamilton remember the day that Carrie faced a crowd of angry Whites and proudly entered West End High School.