Roadtrip Nation

Odessa Woolfolk

RTN about Odessa Woolfolk by Jessica Duff

Top quotes:

“I don’t think anybody who has been successful has had a pain-free life. Pain, embarrassment, falling on your face–those are motivators.”

“You owe it to yourself to figure out how you can make it better for the next generation.”


  • Discrimination was a daily part of life when she was growing up in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Hometown nicknamed “Bombingham” because of the consequences for anyone questioning the status quo.
  • Studied history and political science at Talladega College and earned a master’s in urban studies.
  • Interested in teaching from a young age; taught high school at the height of civil rights movement.
  • Worked in public policy and top-level administration in New York and Washington D.C.
  • Taught at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where a community service award is named for her.
  • Helped create the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.