1963 May 2

“D” Day in Birmingham – Martin Luther King Mobilizes Children for Demonstrations


“D” Day was one of the pivotal events of Martin Luther King’s civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. Against the advice of some of his advisors, he mobilized hundreds of school children to demonstrate against segregation. A reported 959 children were jailed, filling the Birmingham jail, and 1,000 stayed out of school the next day. The use of fire hoses and police dogs against demonstrators the following day, May 3, 1963, created international outrage and inspired demonstrations across the country.

In response to the growing civil rights crisis, President Kennedy went on national television on June 11, 1963, and promised to send a civil rights bill to Congress. An amended version of that bill became the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which President Lyndon Johnson signed into law on July 2, 1964.

Watch the Birmingham “Children’s March” (with later interviews with some of the children): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5c113fq3vhQ

Visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute: http://bcri.org/index.html

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

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