The Christian Broadcasting Network

Browse Videos

Share Email

Growing up in 'Bombingham'

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice remembers growing up in Birmingham, Alabama during the heated Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 60s. Read Transcript


BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA WAS NOT

A SANE OR SAFE PLACE FOR A

BLACK FAMILY IN THE 1950S OR

'60s, BUT IT WAS HOME FOR

JOHN AND ANGELINA RICE, AND

THEIR DAUGHTER,

CONDOLEEZZA.

THE CITY EARNED THE NICKNAME

"BOMINGHAM" IT SEEMED AN

UNLIKELY PLACE TO PRODUCE A

FUTURE SECRETARY OF STATE.

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, A

PLACE WHERE YOU COULDN'T GO

INTO THE WOOLWORTH'S AND

HAVE A HAMBURGER AT THE

LUNCH COUNTER.

Reporter:

DR. CONDOLEEZZA RICE SAYS

HER JOURNEY FROM THE

SEGREGATED SOUTH TO

INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMACY IS A

TRULY AMERICAN STORY.

IN HER RECENT MEMOIR

"EXTRAORDINARY, ORDINARY

PEOPLE," DR. RICE RECOUNTS

HOW HER PARENTS AND

GRANDPARENTS FORMED A

FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS IN

THE HEART OF THE DEEP

SOUTH.

THIS IS REALLY AMERICA'S

STORY.

IT IS A STORY THAT SAYS YOU

CAN COME FROM PRETTY HUMBLE

CIRCUMSTANCES, AND YOU CAN

BE EXPECTED TO DO GREAT

THINGS IF YOU HAVE A FEW

INGREDIENTS.

I HAD PARENTS WHO GAVE ME

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

AND THERE ISN'T REALLY ANY

SUBSTITUTE FOR IT.

MY PARENTS, AND REALLY MY

GRANDPARENTS AND THE

COMMUNITY, ARE VERY MUCH

IT'S REASON I AM WHO I AM.

Reporter: GRANDDADDY

RICE SHEARED A YEAR WORTH OF

COTTON TO PAY FOR HIS

EDUCATION.

HE RECEIVED A SCHOLARSHIP

THAT PAID FOR THE REST OF

HIS EDUCATION AND BECAME A

PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER.

AND HE PLANTED CHURCHES AND

SCHOOLS IN COMMUNITY AFTER

COMMUNITY.

SHE FOLLOWED IN HER FATHER'S

FOOTSTEPS EARNING A COLLEGE

DEGREE.

IN MY CASE, I HAD PARENTS

AND GRANDPARENTS AND A

COMMUNITY THAT WAS

REMARKABLE

AND IT'S PERSEVERANCE.

Reporter: CONDI'S

FATHER, JOHN RICE, WAS A

PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND A

HIGH SCHOOL GUIDANCE

COUNSELLOR.

HER MOTHER WAS A MUSICIAN

AND TEACHER.

HER GRANDMOTHER STARTED HER

ON THE PIANO AT AGE THREE.

HER NAME MEANS "PLAY WITH

SWEETNESS."

MY MOTHER WAS AN

AIRPORT.

I THINK I INHERITED HER LOVE

OF THE ARTS.

HER BELIEF THAT THE ARTS ARE

REALLY OUR DEMOCRATIC

HERITAGE.

THEY SHOULDN'T BE FOR THE

ELITE.

Reporter: THE RICES

INVESTED THEIR LIVES IN

OTHERS.

THE OPPRESSION AND RACIAL

HATRED THEY ENDURED DIDN'T

STOP THEM FROM OPENING DOORS

OF OPPORTUNITY FOR THE NEXT

GENERATION.

IN THE AFTERNOON, MY

FATHER HAD A YOUTH FELLOW

HAPPEN.

FELLOWSHIP.

THAT IS WHERE HE BROUGHT

KIDS FROM ALL OF THE CITY.

HE WOULD HAVE BIBLE STUDY,

BUT HE ALSO HAD SOCIAL

EVENTS.

AND THEN ON TUESDAY, WE HAD

TUTORING IN ALGEBRA AND

TUTORING IN FRENCH.

I WAS VERY MUCH ACTIVE IN

THE CHURCH BECAUSE AT A VERY

YOUNG AGE I STARTED PLAYING

PIANO FOR THE CHURCH.

WE WERE KIND OF AN

INTERESTING FAMILY.

MY MOM PLAYED THE ORGAN, MY

FATHER PREACHED, AND I

PLAYED THE PIANO.

Reporter: WHILE CONDI

WAS PLAYING IN CHURCH

SEPTEMBER 16th, 1963, A

LARGE EXPLOSION ROCKED THE

COMMUNITY.

TWO BLOCKS AWAY, A BOMB

BLAST AT THE 16th STREET

BAPTIST CHURCH KILLED FOUR

GIRLS PREPARING FOR

WORSHIP.

BLACK BIRMINGHAM WAS

GRIEF-STRICKEN.

IT WAS A TIPPING POINT IN

THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

CONDI REMEMBERS THE DAY HER

PLAY MATE, PICTURED HERE

RECEIVING HER KINDERGARTEN

DIPLOMA FROM CONDI'S FATHER,

WAS KILLED.

WHEN YOU WALK THROUGH

DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES OR

FRIGHTENING CIRCUMSTANCES,

WHEN YOU'RE YOUNGER, AS I

WAS AS A KID WHEN 16th

STREET WAS BOMBED, YOU CLING

TO YOUR PARENTS.

AND THEY, PERHAPS, CLING TO

THEIR FAITH TO KNOW HOW TO

HELP YOU THROUGH THAT.

WHEN YOU'RE AN ADULT, YOU,

OF COURSE, HAVE FAMILY AND

FRIENDS, BUT YOU DON'T CLING

TO YOUR PARENTS.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOMETHING,

THOUGH, THAT IS THERE FOR

YOU.

AND I THINK THAT'S WHEN IT'S

MOST WONDERFUL TO HAVE HAD A

WELL-DEVELOPED SENSE OF

FAITH.

WHAT CAN YOU SAY TO MANY

BLACK AMERICANS NOW TO SAY,

NO, I WANT YOU REALLY TO

UNDERSTAND WHAT A TIME THAT

WAS, AND WHAT IT WAS FOR

PARENTS LIKE MINE TO BE ABLE

TO OVERCOME IN THAT TIME.

WELL, WE OWE SO MUCH TO

OUR PARENTS' GENERATION.

BECAUSE THEY HAD EVERY

REASON, AND CERTAINLY EVEN

OUR GRANDPARENTS -- THEY HAD

EVERY REASON TO BE BEATEN

DOWN BY WHAT THEY SAW.

EVERY DAY THE HUMILIATIONS

OF SEGREGATION.

EVERY DAY THE NEGATIVE

MESSAGES OF SEGREGATION, AND

YET THEY LIVED LIVES OF

DIGNITY.

THEY LIVED PRODUCTIVE

LIVES.

THAT IS REALLY QUITE

EXTRAORDINARY, GIVEN WHAT

THEY LIVED THROUGH.

SO WE OWE A DEBT OF

GRATITUDE TO THAT GENERATION

WHO BROUGHT US THROUGH.

AND, OF COURSE, THE ONE

THING THAT BOTH OF MY

PARENTS HAD THAT I'M

GRATEFUL TO HAVE IS A DEEP

AND ABIDING FAITH IN GOD.

THERE IS NO GREATER GIFT

THAT PARENTS CAN GIVE THEIR

KIDS THAN THAT.

EMBED THIS VIDEO

Related Podcasts


Log in or create an account to post a comment.  

CBN.com | Do You Know Jesus? | Privacy Notice | Prayer Requests | Support CBN | Contact Us | Feedback
© 2012 Christian Broadcasting Network