1963 April 3

“B” Day – Rev. Martin Luther King Launches Birmingham Demonstrations


“B Day” (for Birmingham) marked the beginning of massive civil rights demonstrations protesting segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. The Birmingham campaign was Rev. Martin Luther King’s major project for 1963. King and other leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) began a freedom campaign of nonviolent direct action to demand an end to segregation in Birmingham public facilities and employment discrimination in the city. The Birmingham protests became one of the iconic events of the civil rights movement, marked by the use of police dogs and fire hoses against civil rights demonstrators, on May 3, 1963. Images of the protests sparked national and international protest.

The demonstrations led directly to President John F. Kennedy’s nationally televised speech, on June 11, 1963, when he called for a federal civil rights bill. The bill eventually became law on July 2, 1964.

Read: Diane McWhorter, Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution (2001)

Read the Birmingham Manifesto: http://www.crmvet.org/docs/bhammanf.htm

Watch a documentary on the Birmingham protests: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9kT1yO4MGg

Hear the music of the Civil Rights Movement (11 songs): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFc8glsWjgU&list=PLYwfZ_bASjn25XLL6KrVH6F4d8TqlTBog

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