Interview with Arthur Shores
QUESTION 10
INTERVIEWER:

YOU LIVED IN A NEIGHBORHOOD ABOUT THAT TIME THAT WAS REFERRED TO FONDLY AS DYNAMITE HILL. COULD YOU TELL ME ABOUT DYNAMITE HILL?

Arthur Shores:

Well, Dynamite Hill came as a result of a case that I uh, had filed to uh, have the zoning ordinance in the City of Birmingham declared unconstitutional. During that time, the city had a zoning ordinance which required blacks to live in certain sections, and whites in other sections, and it was a violation of the law to uh, move into a section, or property that was zoned for one of the other races. Well, a black man uh, bought a piece of property that uh, was zoned for white, and had a house built on it. And when the house was completed uh, he applied for a certificate of occupancy. And the city refused. We went into the federal court, and the court directed the city to issue the certificate of occupancy. And the night after this certificate of occupancy was uh issued, that house was completely destroyed by dynamite. Then of course, the, we next had to file a suit to have that, the ordinance declared unconstitutional. Which was uh, finally declared unconstitutional by a federal judge. And that house was dynamited and one end was blown off. And then, of course, right across the street, Center Street, uh, on the side of Center Street where I lived, half of that block was zoned for white, and the other half for black. Well, blacks began to buy property on that half, and whites across the street begin moving out. They sold their houses to blacks, and before black could move in, uh, that house was blown up, dynamite, or either — or either burned. And what broke it up there was the blacks had hired a white member who infiltrated the Klan and the Klan notified him that on a certain night, a certain house, that had been recently purchased, would be either burned or dynamited. And at the appointed hour, uh, blacks had secreted themselves across from this house, and when the whites came up, they opened gunfire. One white was killed, and several were wounded. Nothing was ever placed in the paper about it. And that broke it up, there was no more burning there until several years later, uh, in 1963, I believe it was, when the schools were integrated.