On the Issues with Michele Goodwin

Ms. Honors Juneteenth (with Ann Grundy)


June 13, 2023

With Guests:

  • Ann Beard Grundy. She is a civil rights activist and the daughter of Reverend Beard, born while her father was the pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama which was bombed on Sunday, September 15 1963 in a white supremacist attack that took the lives of four girls: Edie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carol Robertson and Denise McNair.

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In this Episode:

In this episode, we’re celebrating and recognizing Juneteenth.  However, in 2023, Juneteenth marks the continued struggle toward racial justice and constitutional equality.  From voter suppression to book bans that target Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ authors—this Juneteenth offers much to think about.

In the face of these bans, and as we celebrate Juneteenth, it’s more important than ever to remember our American history—because these bans aren’t just attacks on critical race theory or women’s studies. They’re attacks on democracy and the First Amendment itself.

Background reading:


Michele Goodwin:

Welcome to On the Issues. As you know, we are a show that reports rebels and we tell it just like it is. We examine the past as we think about the future. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in this episode as we celebrate and recognize Juneteenth. But Juneteenth comes to us in 2023 with vestiges of the past. What are those vestiges? Well, we’re at a time in which there are books being burned in our country, books being banned. This is a time in which librarians are being surveilled, being told what they can help people with and not when they come into the library searching for certain titles. This is a time in which books that have been written by Rosa Parks, or featuring Rosa Parks have been censored, books featuring Dr. King, books about the Holocaust that have been tossed into trash bins, books that have been burned that are about Indigenous communities, about women’s rights movements, books that talk about LGBTQ families being put on the chopping block. This is a time in which there’s such tremendous fragility that’s been teased up, that millions of children will be affected by because there will be books that they will not have access to that feature American history.

And so in this episode, I couldn’t be more pleased than to be speaking with Ann Beard Grundy. She is the daughter of Reverend Beard. Born while her father was the pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Yes, that 16th Street Baptist Church, the one that was bombed as little girls prepared for Sunday School. At a time in our country where there was such fragility that the thought of black children preparing for Sunday school and an education in Christianity was in fact so threatening that there would be people who would bomb the church and kill and maim the children as they prepared for Sunday school. Yes, it was 60 years ago, that on Sunday, September 15 1963, this horrific event would claim the lives of Edie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carol Robertson and Denise McNair. And their siblings that would survive would be scarred both physically and psychologically, for life. Ann was the daughter of the pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church, not at the time in which it was bombed. But she grew up in this space with having people like Thurgood Marshall come through her home and so many others because after all, in a time of segregation, of Jim Crow politics, where else could lawyers of the Civil Rights Movement stay? Remember the Green Book, the green book was that which helped Black people determine where it was safe, to be able to travel to and be able to stay when they traveled through the American South.

In this episode of On the Issues, Ann, who now makes her life in Lexington, Kentucky, and who’s been a civil rights activist for all of her life, walks us through that period of time in Birmingham, Alabama, walks us through history and tells us a lot to help us think about why Juneteenth is so important. And as importantly, if not more so, why thinking about American history is so important for all of us. And also what we can think about going forward—Silver Linings that we can find even in the darkest of times, and in the time period in which so many people are actually doing their best work to try to dismantle our Constitution—because you see, attacks on what we can read and what we can learn about Indigenous people, Black people, the civil rights activists, abolitionist who happened to have been white. You see those attacks are not just attacks on CRT. No, those are attacks on democracy. Those are attacks on the First Amendment. Those are the kinds of attacks acts that show how vulnerable our democracy can be if people who want to burn books and ban books actually win. So sit back and take a listen as Ann Beard Grundy gives us quite an education.

00:00:02 Michele Goodwin: 

Ann, it’s really my pleasure to have you with us at Ms. Magazine for our On the Issues show, and you have just been such a thought leader, trailblazer, committed activist. I really admire you, Ann.Thank you so much for being on the show.

00:00:27 Ann Grundy: 

Michele, always a pleasure to share a space with you, to share energy. You know, I can remember right now the moment that I met you, and it just like brings up light in my life. So, anything to help you, and anything to help the struggle, I’m down for that.

00:00:48 Michele Goodwin:

Yes. Well, Ann, I want to talk about the space that we’re in right now. We are a couple of years after a storming of the nation’s capital, the first time in the country’s history that a Confederate flag actually made its way into the Capitol Building. We’re in a time in which there are books that are being banned in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Virginia, et cetera, that depict Black life in America. Toni Morrison is on that list. Rosa Parks happens to be on that list. I want to unpack that and so much more with you, but I want to start off with the fact that you grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, isn’t that right, Ann?

00:01:41 Ann Grundy: 

Yes, I did. I’ve always said that. My father died when I was 14, and my mother much, much later, but my parents are both from Mississippi, and they met at Jackson State, or what is now University, and they were living in Meridian, Mississippi raising their children and are pregnant with me in December of 1944. My parents made the decision to move to Birmingham, where my father was asked to pastor the 16th Street Baptist Church. I have told my mother, and in spirit I’ve told my daddy because I wasn’t old enough or mature enough to realize what an incredible gift they had given me in making that one move, but I told my mother and told Daddy in spirit, thank you so much for deciding to move to Birmingham, pregnant with me, and I’m born in August of 1945, because in that one decision, which was not easy for them…they didn’t just jump on the bandwagon to go to Birmingham. Even though my parents were very aware of 16th Street Baptist Church and its value to the community and to this country, they were very aware of that, but they weren’t just going to jump on board without asking themselves, is this a better situation for our children? And so, they _____ 00:03:26…

00:03:26 Michele Goodwin:

Well, Ann, you know, but isn’t…?

00:03:28 Ann Grundy:


00:03:28 Michele Goodwin:

Isn’t that complicated itself? Because you just said that your parents were from Mississippi.

00:03:35 Ann Grundy:


00:03:35 Michele Goodwin:

Well, Ann, it is a place where, as history records, not even Black folks’ words, it’s the words that are left behind by people who enslaved Black people, that it was a notorious place, a place with sundown laws. Of course Alabama had them, too, but a place of notorious lynchings, sharecropping.

00:03:55 Ann Grundy:

You know, in all situations…and you will not hear me praise, you know, Mississippi in terms of the Mississippi we all have come to know, this extremely racist place, you know, that wants to keep everybody down except for white men. I’m not praising Mississippi, but I’m saying in the context of that severe oppression, Black people worked to take care of their children and to build…remember, coming literally out of slavery, our people did something that nobody else in the world has ever done. Our ancestors walked off plantations with no clothes, no money, no food, no idea of where they were going to go and how they were going to live, but what did they do? They went looking for family, and the second thing they did is that they began to build colleges and universities.

00:05:05 Michele Goodwin:

Isn’t that amazing?

00:05:05 Ann Grundy:

That’s amazing to me.

00:05:07 Michele Goodwin:

That is amazing, and so, they made their journey to Birmingham.

00:05:11 Ann Grundy:


00:05:11 Michele Goodwin:

The 16th Street Baptist Church, it has legacy and history, legacy and history before your father, during his time there, and after.

00:05:21 Ann Grundy:

Yes. It _____ 00:05:22.

00:05:22 Michele Goodwin:

For our listening audience, right, the many of them will be thinking about that notorious, horrific bombing of the church.

00:05:31 Ann Grundy:

Yes, but you know, when I talk about 16th Street, I never of course leave out the bombing, but I do kind of back up a minute and talk about why it was bombed. Why was this church a threat to whiteness? And it was, and I hope it continues to be in some way or another, and so, if you back up, the history, go back to the end of the enslavement and the time that these saditty Black people, these Black people who thought they were good enough to have a church that stood out like 16th Street. So, that’s not the first building. When you look at the current building of 16th Street, that’s the second building. The first building was downtown proper, Birmingham, near where the Birmingham Newspaper is now, and the Black people built a debt-free church. I think back then it cost maybe 30, 40,000 dollars, which was a fortune, you know, and they built it debt-free right in the faces of white people. White people were so furious that they condemned a brand-new church, tore it down, and Black people moved to the current site of 16th Street, and this time they said, hmm, how can we build a really tough building, one that gets the attention? 

And so, they went to Tuskegee. Booker T. Washington, who you know was known for recruiting great professors, you know, George Washington Carver, so on. Rayfield, Professor Rayfield was teaching architecture at Tuskegee way back then. Well, some of the Black people in Birmingham had attended Tuskegee. They knew about Professor Rayfield, and they went and asked him if he would design a church that would catch the eye and serve their purposes. In other words, a church that would stand out. He came up, I understand, with several sketches. They said, no, no, not bad enough. That won’t work. That won’t work, and finally he came up with what we know to be the design of the church today. They said, yes, that’s it, and so, this church went up, and from its very first day on this planet, it became like a meeting place for Black people, you know, in organizing…my high school, Parker High School, in organizing the first Black-owned bank in Birmingham, Penny National Bank. In doing anything and everything on behalf of the community, 16th Street was at the center of that. White people resented it because _____ 00:08:41…

00:08:41 Michele Goodwin:

And your father…

00:08:43 Ann Grundy:

Go on.

00:08:44 Michele Goodwin:

Well, you know…well, I want to hear what you were about to say, but I’m thinking how amazing it was that your father then is selected…

00:08:53 Ann Grundy:


00:08:53 Michele Goodwin:

To lead the church, this church, which has legacy, which has legs, which is a church that is more than how people understand a church to be. 

00:09:07 Ann Grundy:

I’ve always said about my father that were he a white male, he would not have been “just a preacher.” My father had issues with Christianity. He understood that whole thing of the slave master choosing Christianity to shove down our throats because it would put us and keep us in our places. Had my father had doors opened to him…my father was very bright. He ran away twice.

00:11:55 Michele Goodwin:

Well, it also says a lot, too, about what were the expectations of Black leaders within these religious institutions.

00:12:08 Ann Grundy:


00:12:08 Michele Goodwin:

Because they were managing more than the Sunday sermon.

00:12:12 Ann Grundy:

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

00:12:13 Michele Goodwin:

During a period of time in which there’s racial segregation and discrimination against Black people not being able to enter banks, not being able to enter hospitals, not be able to have access to legal services, and many people don’t know that then the churches…

00:12:31 Ann Grundy:


00:12:31 Michele Goodwin:

Then filled out those roles by actually opening up clinics.

00:12:35 Ann Grundy:


00:12:35 Michele Goodwin:

By having legal teams.

00:12:37 Ann Grundy:


00:12:38 Michele Goodwin:

By doing all of that, they’re managing so much more under the smoke screen…

00:12:43 Ann Grundy:

Yeah. Yeah.

00:12:43 Michele Goodwin:

Of the church. It’s not that people aren’t getting Sunday school.

00:12:47 Ann Grundy:


00:12:47 Michele Goodwin:

And it’s not as if they’re not getting the sermons, but they’re having to manage what government won’t do for communities of Black people. So, Ann, what was it like then, just to help fill this all in for our audience, and audience, you know HBCU is historically Black colleges and universities, but what was it like growing up in Birmingham? Because it seems that there is the internal Black story of a lot of love, a lot of joy. You grew up in the neighborhood of Condoleezza Rice, of Angela Davis. These were people that you went to school with. It’s also the place that becomes known as Bombingham.

00:14:24 Ann Grundy:

Yeah. Yeah.

00:14:24 Michele Goodwin:

How does one, you know, reconcile Bombingham and the real threat of bombs? You know, the Civil Rights Museum right across the street from the church today has a timeline in it, and Ann, when I’ve been in that facility and I’ve looked at that timeline, you know, one is pressed to think, well, this is a timeline of hundreds of years, but it’s not. It’s a timeline of only a few years because it would’ve taken up the whole building.

00:14:54 Ann Grundy:


00:14:55 Michele Goodwin:

These few years of all these bombings, bombing, bombing, bombing, bombing, bombing, and it just overwhelms the mind, and I…when I’ve been there, I’ve just melted into tears to just think the level of bombings that we don’t talk about.

00:15:10 Ann Grundy:

Yeah. Yeah.

00:15:11 Michele Goodwin:

But that Black people had to endure in Birmingham to just live out their so-called equality and lives.

00:15:20 Ann Grundy:

Yeah. Yeah. You know, the access, as an aside, to materials to make a bomb were part of the whole mining…you know, Birmingham is called the Magic City because of coal mines, and so, in coal mines, dynamite is used all of the time. So, it was readily available to, guess who? The Birmingham police. So, it was the Birmingham police, as an aside, who provided the dynamite that bombed 16th Street, all of those houses up and down Center Street, Shuttlesworth’s church, it goes on and on and on. Yes. Yes. Yeah. 

00:16:02 Michele Goodwin:

So, how does…? I’m wondering what that was like then for you as you were growing up. Were you aware of those bombings? So, I mean, it seems like on one hand it could be…go to school. I have these great parents. I take my piano lessons. You’re a classically trained pianist.

00:16:20 Ann Grundy:


00:16:20 Michele Goodwin:

And I think there’s even the story with regard to your piano instructor, who was actually trained at Juilliard if I remember correctly.

00:16:29 Ann Grundy:

Yes. _____ 00:16:30, and guess what? She easily…we knew but white people didn’t know, she could quickly pass for white, and she did when she needed to, meaning that there were a lot of materials…there was one big music store in Birmingham called Forbes. When you read the biography of the jazz musician Sun Ra who grew up in Birmingham, went to Parker High, you know, he had access to Forbes music store because he was so strange they were afraid not to sell him anything, but Mrs. Chandles would go down to Forbes music store and just go in, she looked like all of the other white customers, and get whatever she wanted. For whom? For us. 

00:17:18 Michele Goodwin:

For you all.

00:17:18 Ann Grundy:

For us, and she would come back and pass that out to all of the music teachers. By the way, all Black schools, segregated schools, for all of the damnation of them that we have given, were really little goldmines. All Black schools produced me, produced my husband, produced my siblings, my daddy and mother. They had something special going on that you can’t go into a department store and buy, and what they had going on was all of this love and protection for us. So, this goes back to your question, Michele. In the midst of all of this chaos and this violence and this anger, Black people protected us. They let us know not only are we going to take care of you, not just my mom and daddy, but Ms. Maryon the porch, or Mr. Jim, the blind man who sold peanuts across the street. Not only are we going to protect you, but guess what, Ann? And they said this to me so regularly that I think maybe sometimes it’s my middle name. Little Ann, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. One day, you going to make us proud. To this day, Michele, I’m 77 years old, I…it’s like that message pops up to me. It’s right back here on the tape recorder or whatever the technology is now, and it pops up reminding me no matter how old you are or what your circumstance is, you owe it to Black people, to self, to the world to do your part. Use this great head that the universe has given you.

00:19:08 Michele Goodwin:

Well, I think in part what you’re also telling a story of is the talent, too, of your teachers, right? You had access in Birmingham to an amazing set of teachers who were trained, brilliantly trained, but who also because of racial discrimination were not able to get jobs…

00:19:31 Ann Grundy:

That’s right.

00:19:31 Michele Goodwin:

Back at Juilliard, say your music instructor, say at the local college, et cetera, and so, the investment then was also within the community, and an interesting thing because they may have chosen to want to be there anyway, but there’s also this double bind of…

00:19:50 Ann Grundy:


00:19:50 Michele Goodwin:

There’s a book that I talk about to my students and on the air here. It’s the book on States’ Laws on Race written by Pauli Murray, and it’s nearly 800 pages long, single space, that documents all these various segregationist laws that came out of Jim Crow, and I think that people understand Jim Crow as the day in which Rosa Parks is able to successfully not surrender her seat such that she is arrested and then there is the launch of the bus boycott, but there were myriad ways in which Black folks were denied access to being able to play checkers in the park, swim in the pool in the park.

00:20:44 Ann Grundy:


00:20:44 Michele Goodwin:

Walk through the park, play billiards in the park. I mean, it’s hard to imagine that people sitting in state houses could spend all their time thinking about the ways to make sure that Black people were denied the things that were just comfortable for white life.

00:21:00 Ann Grundy:

Just as they are doing right now. It has not gone away. In the state of Kentucky, the whole textbook thing. What happens in the classroom? They’re doing precisely the…easily threatened white men, insecure. I just want to throw out for your students a name, Arthur Shores. I actually went to school with his daughters. Barbara was in my class, and Helen was a little older. Arthur Shores was an attorney. He went to Talladega, HBCU, lived up on what we call Dynamite Hill. So, Arthur Shores, it was very common for him…he was a little, short, dark-skinned brother, and he would be out mowing his lawn. White people would stop their cars. He built a beautiful house, how dare he, and they would walk up to him and say, where’s the master of the house? You’re looking at him, and that just infuriated white people. So, white people, in addition to bombing all those houses, Angela Davis’s neighborhood, right behind her house, all of these houses were bombed, in addition to that they also…when they started putting in the interstate highway system, the Eisenhower, drove it right in the middle of that neighborhood to depreciate the property, so on and so forth, but Arthur Shores is legendary and beloved in Alabama, Birmingham, throughout the south. 

He was one of King’s attorneys because Black teachers…when he knew, you know, he lived in Birmingham, that Black teachers put all of their eggs in the teaching basket. What else could they do? They could teach, preach, or pray or bury, you know, as they say. So, they had to make the most out of their choices in life. It was very common for our teachers to have, let’s say, a BA or a BS from Tuskegee, Talladega, Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Oakwood. They had there a four-year degree, but you would see Black teachers pack up every summer and they would go and do a summer school at IU, at Columbia, at here or there. So, it was not unusual. 

My teacher, Mrs. Murphy, who was my Girl Scout counselor, my first piano teacher, my parents’ best friend, Mrs. Murphy, four years at Spelman, and then she began…she never had children. She married, but she would spend…she would go to New York City where she would stay with friends. Half of her time at Juilliard, half of her time at Columbia. So, Mrs. Murphy almost had a PhS in organ and in mathematics. That’s what she did with her life, and we were the recipients of all of that stuff. She would come back of course. She would travel internationally, and she would show us pictures and suggest to us there was another side of the mountain, but Attorney Shores was very aware of the Mrs. Murphys of the world, and he knew that Black teachers after four years of undergrad would have their masters and almost their PhDs, but they were paid less than white teachers who barely had four years. Arthur Shores took on that for Birmingham and for the state of Alabama, and he got equal pay. So, you ask people about Arthur Shores in Birmingham, we love him.

00:24:57 Michele Goodwin:

And he is a hero. What I’m leading to is I’m thinking about the importance of what education meant for Black people generally and what you saw in your life, and then that just continued onto college, but I’m wondering how one understands this. At a time in which…where we are now. Sort of yanking from textbooks, meaningful contributions of Black Americans. Also, censoring matters with regard to women’s history, Indigenous history, all of that. What’s your take on this? Why do you think that this is happening today, Ann?

00:29:23 Ann Grundy:

You know, I know that’s a complex…that response should be complex, but I guess the simple answer is something I discovered early on with the Quakers as I began to interact with white people, and my mother…by this time Daddy’s dead…my mother said to me, you’re going to discover a whole lot of things about white people you never knew, and you’re going to discover even more about yourself, and what I discovered happened very quickly, and that is that whiteness allows people to kind of have a fantasy life, to pretend that they’re, as the kids say, all that and a bag of chips, you know, that we did this, we did…that’s how you can “have American history,” and not talk about Indigenous people, Black people, Asian. You can leave all of them out because the only thing that’s important is whiteness, you know what I’m saying? 

We know…it’s obviously what the damage is to Indigenous people, to African people, to Asian…we get that. What we don’t think about is the damage to white people. So, we are looking at people who have built a house on sinking sand. You know it’s just a matter of time, and they know this, they feel it, before it all comes tumbling down. There are not enough gated communities in this country to protect them from that other foot dropping and saying, you got to face up to this history. Where are the Indigenous people? Where are they? What has happened to African people who easily could’ve been this or that or what have you? 

00:32:03 Michele Goodwin:

Right. You sort of think about Jesse Owens at the Olympics where Hitler expects that the team that’s been curated in his ideology and thinking, that they’re just going to sweep every aspect of the Olympics.

00:32:20 Ann Grundy:

Yeah. Yeah.

00:32:20 Michele Goodwin:

And then how dare this unknown, you know, person named Jesse Owens takes to the track and shoves it back at Hitler in a way that at the time other countries weren’t even shoving it back at Hitler, and Jesse Owens did.

00:32:40 Ann Grundy:


00:32:42 Michele Goodwin:

So, Ann, I’m wondering your thoughts about where do we go from here. You know, there’s such a bridge. What is the bridge, I guess, between…from your father’s story, your story growing up in Birmingham, the hope put in place by Dr. King and so many others, right? It’s part of your journey to the Quaker school, going off to college, but then the struggle continues.

00:33:13 Ann Grundy:

Yeah. Yeah. I guess what I’m trying to say is, like everyone else in the world, we are figuring it out step by step by step, but white people are onto something. They understand that knowing this history, this critical race theory and stuff, that’s key. They know that. So, all of their efforts, DeSantis and all of them, no, no. Don’t let…because once our children wrap their heads around…no, it’s not just that, once white children begin too. So, I think, as old-fashioned as it sounds, Michele, the key to it is history and preparation. Isn’t that something? And the more they say, don’t do it, I’m telling my children, do it. Grandsons, do it. If they say, don’t go there, that’s exactly where you’re going to go, you know? 

00:35:29 Michele Goodwin:

Well, you know, I think that what you’ve touched on is that in an era of desegregation, at least the promise of Brown, is such that white children would be exposed, right?

00:35:43 Ann Grundy:


00:35:43 Michele Goodwin:

And isn’t that the fight? 

00:35:45 Ann Grundy:


00:35:45 Michele Goodwin:

The fight is against white children being exposed, coming home, asking questions.

00:35:52 Ann Grundy:


00:35:52 Michele Goodwin:

Trying to reconcile with these histories.

00:35:55 Ann Grundy:


00:35:55 Michele Goodwin:

Wondering where was Grandfather? Where was Grandmother?

00:36:00 Ann Grundy:

What were you doing? Yes.

00:36:01 Michele Goodwin:

What…? Yes. I mean, it seems to me that what isn’t being explored in the question of censorship, the trampling of the First Amendment, the devaluing of free speech that we see in the backdrop of all of this, is that at the core of it what’s being explained is, and it’s being passed off that these are real questions about white fragility, that white parents are worried about how their children will take it, and I think that that touches on something, but it’s a little bit too simplistic. I actually think that the concern is not that the kids would be too weak to hear it, because after all, children are exposed to such a violence in this country on a regular basis. Children are exposed to domestic violence. Children are exposed to horrible things. The idea that they shouldn’t be exposed to words and ideas seems something that just can’t hold up, but it seemed to me that underneath that it’s not white kids being traumatized because they read about a lynching, although that would traumatize all of us, but these are these questions that the children would ask about why did this happen? 

00:37:13 Ann Grundy:

It really asks a real basic question, Michele. It asks white people to hold up the mirror, to do mirror work, to hold up that mirror and say, what kind of person would not just lynch, run down and lynch and hang at a tree Black men and women, but take a picnic basket to sit there and watch it, take kids out of school, little white children, so they can be entertained? What kind of people do that? And then when the burning is all over, to take kneecaps and parts of fingers. They are talking about in a place like Atlanta, for example. It was real common in store windows that they would put parts of the…body parts of Black men and women and put them in the window. So, as you’re window shopping for your Easter dress, you also see the bones, the knuckles, the fingertips from a Black man or woman. 

That’s the most fundamental question in the world, Michele. What kind of person would do that? You can’t talk about…because they love to throw that thing with Africa on you, oh, you know, cannibalism. No, no, no, no, no. You did this. Not only did you destroy the Indigenous people and take their land, but then you went the next step and you were stringing people up and you enjoyed it. How do you explain that to children? How do you begin to try to…? My daddy used to say, you know, this is the days before I was even conscious. He said he wouldn’t swap anything in the world to be a white person, never. He said, I know too much, and they have too many questions to answer to the world. Yeah.

00:39:41 Michele Goodwin:

Ann, one of the things that we do on this podcast is that we turn to silver linings. I could spend a very long time with you, and we will have you back on this podcast. It’s been so illuminating and I think will be illuminating for the many, many people all across not just this country but around the world who listen, and thank you, people in Australia and New Zealand for making us one of your top podcasts. We appreciate that, but we always end and talk about a silver lining. In the face of all of that that we’ve discussed today and so much more to come, what do you see as a silver lining in these times, Ann?

00:40:27 Ann Grundy:

Oh, and there are silver linings. I alluded to one much earlier when I said thank you Mama and Daddy for making that move to Birmingham, for placing me at what was then the center of the struggle. You couldn’t get anymore center than living in the parsonage. I never knew who was going to walk through that door. Well, when people came into town, they had no place to stay. Think about this, Michele. No place to eat and my daddy would walk into the living room and he would have complete strangers, but sometimes I recognized them. I recognized Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Bunche. You hear what I’m saying? Mrs. King of course, Autherine Lucy. You go on and on. My daddy would bring these people home, because why? They needed to eat, and they needed some place to stay. 

So, we didn’t really have extra room. I, to this day, I’ve tried to figure it out. How did my parents move all these children around to give up the top room at the front of the house and make that the guest room? But they did it. I was showing my mother this movie one day. My mother was dying, you know, ill, and I said, Mama, look at this movie, and she said, oh, Ann, that’s a wonderful film. She said, you remember him, don’t you? I said, remember what? She said, he stayed here all of the time when he would come to Birmingham. Where do you stay if you’re not staying with another Black family or in the Gaston Motel? 

So, here’s what I’m saying, Michele. I thank the universe. I thank the ancestors. I didn’t know why I was sitting at a dining room table with these men and women of the race, and sometimes Daddy would bring white people home that he thought were worthy enough to put in front of his children. That was my fuel, and continues to be my fuel, Michele, for the rest of my life.

00:44:18 Michele Goodwin:

Ann, I want to thank you for joining me for our On the Issues podcast. This has been very special, spending time with you. Thank you so much, Ann. 

00:44:29 Ann Grundy:

Thank you.

Michele Goodwin: 

Guests and listeners, that’s it for today’s episode of On the Issues with Michele Goodwin at Ms. Magazine. I want to thank each of you for tuning in for the full story and engaging with us. We hope you’ll join us again for our next episode where you know we’ll be reporting, rebelling and telling it just like it is. 

For more information about what we discussed today, head to MsMagazine.com and be sure to subscribe and if you believe as we do that women’s voices matter, that equality for all persons cannot be delayed and that rebuilding America and being unbought and unbossed and reclaiming our time are important, then be sure to rate, review, and subscribe to On the Issues with Michele Goodwin at Ms. Magazine on Apple Podcast, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Google Podcast, Stitcher, wherever it is that you receive your podcast. 

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Email us at ontheissues@msmagazine.com. We do read our mail. This has been your host Michele Goodwin reporting, rebelling, and telling it just like it is. On the Issues with Michele Goodwin is a Ms. Magazine joint production. Michele Goodwin and Kathy Spillar are our executive producers. Our producers for this episode are Roxy Szal, Oliver Haug, and also Allison Whelan. Our social media content producer is Sophia Panigrahi. The creative vision behind our work includes art and design by Brandi Phipps, editing by Will Alvarez and Natalie Holland and music by Chris J. Lee.