Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in the neighbourhood of Titusville.
She is the only child of Presbyterian minister Reverend John Wesley Rice, Jr., and his wife, the former Angelena Ray.
That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise Mc Nair.During a moment of silence on the White House lawn on Sept.11, 2006, she was ready to leave: “.” But first she had a trip scheduled to Canada –to Nova Scotia, the home province of her “friend and colleague” Mac Kay, then the foreign minister, to thank Canadians for taking in stranded American air travellers on 9/11.I would have to read the newspaper thoroughly because I wouldn’t know what she was going to talk about." Rice herself said of the segregation era: "Those terrible events burned into my consciousness. Chestnut, Reverend Rice called local civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth and his followers' activism as "misguided".I missed many days at my segregated school because of the frequent bomb threats."During the violent days of the Civil Rights Movement, Reverend Rice armed himself and kept guard over the house while Condoleezza practiced the piano inside. Also, Reverend Rice instilled in his daughter and students that black people would have to prove themselves worthy of advancement, and would simply have to be "twice as good" to overcome injustices built into the system.Rice started learning French, music, figure skating and ballet at age three.At age 15, she began classes with the goal of becoming a concert pianist.Rice has commented upon that moment in her life: I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963.I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father’s church.As Rice recalls of her parents and their peers, "they refused to allow the limits and injustices of their time to limit our horizons.”However, Rice recalls various times in which she suffered discrimination and persecution on account of her skin colour, which include being relegated to a storage room at a department store instead of a regular dressing room, being barred from going to the circus or the local amusement park, being denied hotel rooms, and even being given bad food at restaurants.Also, while Condoleezza was mostly kept by her parents from areas where she might face discrimination, she was very aware of the civil rights struggle and the problems of Jim Crow Birmingham.While the Rices supported the goals of the civil rights movement, they did not agree with some of the tactics that activists had utilized, which included putting children in harm's way.Rice was eight when her schoolmate Denise Mc Nair was killed in the bombing of the primarily African American Sixteenth Street Baptist Church by white supremacists on September 15, 1963.Rice states that growing up during racial segregation taught her determination against adversity, and the need to be "twice as good" as non-minorities.