In 1963 I was 13 years old and my family owned a grocery store (Ted’s Big Apple) and home approximately 3 blocks from the 16th Street Baptist Church (6th Ave). The morning the church was bombed I was outside playing in front of my family’s store on 15th Street and 8th Avenue. The blast shook the entire community of Fountain Heights and beyond. The blast and the ensuing emergency vehicles caused me to run the 2-3 blocks towards the sound of the blast. Along the way I stopped by my friend’s house (Fate Morris) and he and I ran to the 16th Street Baptist Church.
My name is Clifton Williams and I was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1950 and currently live in Ontario, California. I retired from the United States Coast Guard Reserves, Petty Officer 1st Class, and Los Angeles County Police, Lieutenant. I attended Lincoln Elementary School and A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham, AL. We lived in Fountain Heights on 15th Street and 8th Avenue in the Civil Rights District. After graduating high school in 1968 I joined the U.S. Army Military Police at the age of 19. I spent 3 years in Germany working as a military policeman in military prisons. After my tour of duty, I returned to Atlanta, GA where I obtained a job with the Georgia State Patrol assigned to then-Governor Jimmy Carter’s security team in 1972. Fate did not want me to remain in this capacity. I resigned and reenlisted into the army. I spent another 6 years in the active U.S. Army Military Police. After 6 more years in the Army MP’s, I decided to end my tour of duty and join the Los Angeles Police Department. I served with the LAPD for 6 years, resigned and returned to Birmingham and worked at the Jefferson County Family Court Detention Facility as a Juvenile Detention Officer. After 3 years working in the Juvenile Facility, I resigned and moved back to Los Angeles. I joined the Los Angeles County Police Department and spent the next 20 years retiring with the rank of Lieutenant. I retired from the Coast Guard Reserves with 26 years of service. I received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Phoenix. I am single with 4 beautiful children.