Children's

March

In 1963, nearly 100 years after the passage of the 14th Amendment, Black people are still not treated equally by the law. Legal segregation persists throughout much of America, including the schools.

You are a Black high school student in Birmingham, Alabama; at the center of the fight for civil rights and justice. 

Will you join your fellow students in protest, even if you are guaranteed to be arrested? 

Encyclopedia of Alabama

After the dilemma:

What really happened

   On May 2nd 1963, over 4,000 students walked out of school to protest segregation. They marched through the streets of Birmingham, eventually meeting at the 16th Street Baptist Church. With the police waiting outside, the students calmly allowed themselves to be arrested. The police filled cars, paddy wagons, and school buses with young prisoners, and drove them off to jail. 

 

   The next day, students continued to protest outside of the church. The jails were all full, and the police resorted to violence; beating protestors with clubs and attacking them with police dogs. The fire department aided the police by spraying protesters with fire hoses. The pressure from a fire hose can cause severe injuries. 

 

   The arrested children sat in jail for weeks. Adults and children continued to protest, and the police continued to respond with violence. Around the world, newspapers published photos of White police officers attacking Black unarmed protestors. The photos were shameful and embarrassing for political leaders in Washington, DC. 

 

   In response to the photos, President John F. Kennedy and the U.S. Congress pressured the White leaders of Birmingham to find a solution. After negotiating with Dr. King and other civil rights leaders, the city of Birmingham finally agreed to desegregate its public facilities, and to end hiring discrimination based on race. The brave student protestors played a vital role in the civil rights movement. 

 

Sources

 

https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/childrens-march

 

https://www.crmvet.org/tim/timhis63.htm#1963-10

Keywords

Civil Rights, Protest, School Walk Out, Police Brutality, 1960s

Mattie Howard Harris
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© 2019 Chris Seeger