Birmingham 1963

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In April and May of 1963, Birmingham, Alabama was a focal point for the civil rights movement. Birmingham was home to one of the most violent cells of the KKK and violence against black people was so commonplace (especially in the form of explosives) that it was referred to as “Bombingham.” It was these conditions that lead Martin Luther King to arrive and organize a series of non-violent protests in the city. These protests were relatively low key and weren’t very well attended. This was due to the fact that political rivalries between King’s organization, the SCLC, and other civil right’s organizations like CORE and the NAACP. However, the Birmingham protests soon became headlines due to the response of the city’s police commissioner, Eugene “Bull” Conner, to the protests. Seeing any kind of black protest as a threat to his rule, Conner sent out police and firemen to subdue the non-violent protests. Soon enough scenes such as German Shepherds attacking black men and firemen hosing down protesters with high-pressure hoses became emblazoned across the country’s newspapers. Martin Luther King had also been arrested for his role in the protests (his 13th time) and while in jail, wrote his well know “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in response to another letter published by eight white Alabama clergymen (An Appeal for Law and Order and Common Sense). This letter written by King went on to be published in national newspapers and circulated through various churches in pamphlet form. Another important event that happened in September of 1963 was the bombing of the 16th street Baptist Church. In the explosion, four little girls were killed. (Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Rosamond Robertson and Addie Mae Collins) Four... ... middle of paper ... ...hat he found there. Works Cited Carson, Clayborne. Reporting Civil Rights: American Journalism 1941-1963. Colaico, James A. "The American Dream Unfulfilled: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the "Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Phylon (1960-), Vol. 45, No.1 (1st Qtr., 1984), pp. 1-18. Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons go to Birmingham-1963. McWhorter, Diane. Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. Simon and Schuster Books. March 2001. “Killers of the Innocents”-Commentary. Birmingham World. September 18, 1963. “Six Dead After Church Bombing.” Washington Post. September 16, 1963.
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