I went to Phillips High School in downtown Birmingham. When I started there the schools were still segregated, and, because the school was downtown, any white student in the city could go there. Since Mama and Daddy both worked downtown, and it was a College Prep High School, it was a logical place for me to go.
Daddy dropped me off in the mornings, and I rode the bus home in the afternoons. It was a huge school, and there were about 600 in our class. Coming from a little grammar school, where I had been with the same 30 or so friends for eight years, made this quite an adjustment. Only two other girls from there had gone to Phillips, too, so I was thrown into a strange place with a lot of strangers. I did make new friends, though, and settled in fairly quickly to what I expected to be four years of dating, partying, and, oh yeah, studying.
I never expected to be locked in the auditorium, along with 2,000 other students, while a "Colored" man, the Reverand Shuttlesworth, was being beaten with chains on the sidewalk, for trying to enroll his children. I never expected to have Daddy driving me to and from school and slowing down, but not stopping at traffic lights and stop signs, because demonstrators were throwing rocks at passing cars. I never expected to be ushered out to the nearby park, with everyone else, day after day, as bomb threat after bomb threat was called into the school.
You see, I went to Phillips during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, a school less than a mile from where hoses and dogs were being used against demonstrators, and only a few blocks from the bus station where there had been such a horrible confrontation.