Rebecca Tolvin


As Interviewed by Campbell Uyeki, March 12, 2015
"They beat ‘em, they did not want em to go across Selma bridge, and so they just run over, the police did this. They’d catch the people, they’d beat em, they'd stomped on em, as they was going cross the bridge, which was very very very bad, and they hurt a lot of people. Some peoples was crippled on account of the way they walked on ‘em."
Rebecca Tolvin

Introductory Profile: About Rebecca Polbin

Rebecca Polbin is a 77 year-old African-American woman who moved to Birmingham in her 20s, along with her two kids. She tells of the mistreatment of African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama. She speaks specifically of the of unequal work ethics, what she had to do for whites, how she took part in the revolution, and how blacks were treated as a whole.

I came to know of Rebecca through my grandmother, Mary Hatley, who has lived in Birmingham for quite some time. Although she was barely in involved in the Civil Rights Movement, my grandmother was aware that her family respected, but was placed above many, African-American people she knew. Rebecca was one of these people. Even though they were once on dramatically different levels, they are friends now.

Rebecca is a kind, happy person, grateful for what she has. She is also very traditional in her culture, and she is very polite and understanding. She projects this into the interview, chuckling and shining happiness on many parts. This makes the interview light, even with the dark subjects covered!