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By Robert W. Widell Jr.

Birmingham, Alabama looms huge within the heritage of the twentieth-century black freedom fight, yet so far historians have more often than not overlooked the years after 1963. right here, writer Robert Widell explores the evolution of Birmingham black activism into the Nineteen Seventies, offering a worthy neighborhood standpoint at the "long" black freedom fight.

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He told the court: As far as those jobs at ACIPCO, the ones I have been around and really are familiar with, it doesn’t require too much mental capacity. Now, they stress this mental capacity but the jobs I work, if you could think a little and observe what you are doing, that is the job. Now you’ve got to have that physical—this is required, you’ve got to be physically able. 17 Although Baskerville had been performing the duties of core maker for at least fifteen years without the title, he was told that he would have to take the test to qualify.

From that moment forward, he would work every job in COMMITTEE FOR EQUAL JOB OPPORTUNITY 21 the department. “I did everything down there but the lead man’s job,” he later testified in court. ”23 Black workers even found themselves training white employees for the very jobs that they were not allowed to perform. Lloyd Harper, for example, was among those who recalled having to train whites to be his boss. “They would bring a white man in,” he remembered, “and say, ‘Lloyd, this fellow here was hired today.

In both interviews and court testimony, they noted that African Americans were confined to the hardest, most laborintensive jobs. Further, they were never given an opportunity to advance out of those jobs despite their experience actually performing the duties that better paying, safer positions required. 15 Edward Hicks, who started work at ACIPCO in 1959, remembered that discrimination began even before one was hired. 16 Recalling the experience, Hicks pointed out that sometimes prospective black workers would start lining up on Friday afternoon to apply for jobs, even though hiring was not set to begin until Monday.

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