Oliver Roberts

In late May, of 2020, Oliver Roberts looked around his city, and mashed up what he saw happening with an original work by Calford Barker junior. The original appears below.

“Well buddy! What it gonna be today? Are you with me? Or against me?

‘Carl’ Calford Barker Jr. was born in Birmingham, AL sometime in the early to mid 1920’s. His father died of tuberculosis and his mother passed away soon after, effectively orphaning Calford from what Murphy believes was the age of 6 or 7. He was raised by his grandmother, and bounced around from relative to relative as he came of age in Birmingham. His childhood and adolescents was sculpted and scarred by the bitter racism and segregation that marred Alabama and the entire United States during this time. He would work as caddy at a local country club, carrying clubs and refreshments for wealthy, white members; they would stick cigars in his mouth and take photos of him for their friends and family. As a result, Calford vehemently despised racism and segregation, and the humiliation that he endured as a young black boy and man in the United States. Like many of his time, he withheld a great suspicion of the white person’s ability to be racist and to perpetuate racism. He would often refer to his hometown as the colloquial “Bombingham”, referring to the fifty or so bombings that would terrorize black people and their communities in Birmingham in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. These experiences and understandings as a black man would shape Calford’s identity as he began to reveal more of his past to members of the ODC in the years before he passed.