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Civil Rights Movement

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Civil Rights Movement - Page Text Content

FC: BY: Courtney Averitte, Ladedra Averette, Steven King, Jared Williams

1: TABLE OF CONTENTS: Courtney Averitte............ pg. 2-9 Steven King...................... pg. 10- 14 Jared Williamson................ pg. 15- 19 Ladedra Averette................ pg. 20- 26

2: Protests in Birmingham began with a Selective Buying Campaign to pressure business leaders to open retail jobs and other employment to people of all races, as well as to end segregated facilities in the stores.

3: When business leaders resisted the boycott, Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) began the protest, a series of sit-ins and marches intended to provoke arrest. After the campaign ran low on adult volunteers, it recruited children for what became known as the "Children Crusade".

4: High school, college, and elementary students were trained to participate, and hundreds were arrested. During the protests, the Birmingham Police Department, led by the sheriff Eugene "Bull" Connor, used high-pressure water, jets, and police dogs to control protesters, and

5: children. Media coverage of these events brought intense analyzation on segregation in the South. In 1963, Birmingham became a focus for the civil rights movement. Birmingham, as a city, had made its mark on the civil rights movement for a number of years. Whether it was through the activities of Bull Connor or the bombing of the 16st Baptist Church which killed four school girls, many

6: four innocence little girls: Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins. These girls was the victims of the church bombing.

7: Birmingham was one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States. The income for blacks in the city was less than half of whites. One of the most common places blacks work was the steel mills. Birmingham has no black police offices, firefighter, sales

8: clerks in department stores, bank tellers, bus drivers. Black secretaries could not work for white professionals. The jobs that were available was limited, an it was manual labor in a steel mills. Also, blacks would work in neighbor hoods. When layoffs were necessary black employees were the first to go. The unemployment rate for blacks was two and a half less than whites. Birmingham black population began to organize to make a change. Reverned Fred Shuttlesworth formed the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Right (ACMHR) in 1956 to challenge to the City of Birmingham segregation polices through lawsuits and protests. When the courts overturned the segergation of the city's parks, the city responded by closing them. Shuttlesworth's homes was repeatedly bombed, as the Bethel Baptist Church, were he was pastor. After Shuttlesworth was arrested and jailed for violating the city's segregation rules in 1962, he sent a letter to Mayor Art Hanes' office asking that public facilites be desegregated. Hanes responded with a letter informing

10: Shuttlesworth that his letter had been thrown in the garbage. Looking for outside help, Shuttlesworth invited Martin Luther King and SCLC to Birmingham, saying "If you come to Birmingham, you will not only gain prestige, but really shake the country. If you win in Birmingham,

11: as Birmingham goes, so goes the nation."

12: When students from local colleges arranged for a year of staggered boycotts. They caused downtown business to loose by as much as forty (40) percent, which demanded attention from | the Chamber of Commerence. " These racial incidents have given us a black eye that we'll be a long time trying to forget, " said Chamber of Commerece president Sidney Smyer. In response to the boycott, the City Commission of Birmingham punished the black community by witthdrawing $45,000 from a surplus- food program used primarily by low- income blacks. The result was a black community more motivated to resist.

13: The protests have started to get very bad. Rev. Shuttleswor-th recalled a woman whose $16 hat was destroyed by boycott enforcers. Campaign participant | recalled,"We had to go under strict surveillance. We had to tell people, say look: if you go downtown and buy something, you're going to have to answer | through us. After several business owners in Birmingham took down "white only" and "colored only" signs, Commissio-ner Bull Connor told business owners that

14: if they did not follow the segregation ordinances, they would loose theie business licenses.

15: The campaign used a variety of nonviolent methods of confrontation,, including sit- ins at libraries and luch counters, kneel- ins by black visitors at | white churches, and a march to the county building to mark the beginning of a voter- registration drive. The point of these sit-ins and Kneel- ins | was to fill the jails with protesters to force the city government to negotiate as demonstrations continued,how-ever not enough people were arrested.

16: The people that were arrest (Bull Connor made bail expensive) obtained a bail bond from the price of $300 to $1,200. By the prices of the bail this withdrawed many of the black protesters do to the low- income and could not afford the bail prices.

17: the campaign was begin to fall because it was running out of demonstratoes willing to risk jail and have to pay a bail. So the campaign began to recruit college students and children. There were many that joined, but in addition although Connor had used police dogs to assist in the arrest of demonstrators, this did not attract medua attention that organizers had hoped for. But, on May 2nd more than a thousand students skipped school and gathered at the sixteenth street baptist church. Demonstarors were given instrutions to march to the downtown area and intergate the chosen building. Marching in disciplined ranks, some of them

18: using walkie-talkies they were sent at timed intervals from various churches to the downtown busimess area. More than 600 students were arrested. The youngest of these students was | was to be around eight years old. Some of the kids that were arrested clapped and laughed while being arrested and awaiting transport to jail. The mood of these kids was compared to that of a school | a pinic. Although, this man had told Conner that the march was to take place on a certain day which it didn't and Conner and Police was dumbfounded by the numbers and behavior of the children.

19: They assembled paddy wagons and school buses to take the children to jail. When there was no squad cars were left to block the city streets, Connor, whose authority extended to the fire department, used fire trucks. The arrests for that day brought the total number of jailed protesters to 1,200 in the 900-capacity Birmingham jail. Incoming mayor Albert Boutwell and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy condemned the decision to use children in the protests. Kennedy was reported in The New York Times as saying, "An injured, maimed, or dead child is a price that none of us can afford to pay," although adding,

20: "I believe that everyone understands their just grievances must be resolved."Malcolm X criticized the decision, saying, "Real men don't put their children on the firing line." King, who had been silent and then out of town while this man name Bevel was organizing children, understood the success of the day. He declared at a mass meeting that evening, "I have been inspired and moved by today. I have never seen anything like it."Although a guy name Wyatt Tee Walker was initially against the use of children in demonstrations, he | responded to criticism by saying, "Negro children will get a better education in five days in jail than in five months in a segregated school." The D- Day campaign received front page coverage by The Washington Post and The New York Times. The results of this lead to a march where when Connor realized that the Birmingham jail was full, on May 3 he changed police tactics to keep protesters out of the downtown business area. Another thousand students gathered at the church and left to walk across Kelly Ingram Park while chanting, "We're going to walk, walk, walk. Freedom ... freedom ... freedom.

21: freedom."As the demonstrators left the church, police warned them to stop and turn back, "or you all are going get wet". When they continued, Connor ordered the city's fire hoses, set at a level that would peel bark off a tree or separate bricks from mortar, to be turned on the children. Boys' shirts were ripped off, and young women were pushed over the tops of cars by the force of the water. When the students crouched or fell, the blasts of water rolled them down the asphalt streets and concrete sidewalks. Connor allowed white spectators to push forward, shouting, "Let those people come forward, sergeant. I want 'em to see the dogs work." A man name A.G. Gaston, who was appalled at the idea of using children, was on the phone with white attorney David Vann trying to negotiate a resolution to the crisis. When Gaston looked out the window and saw the children being hit with high-pressure water, he said, "Lawyer Vann, I can't talk to you now or ever." My people are out there fighting for their lives and my freedom. I have to go help them," and hung up the phone. Black parents and adults who were observing cheered the marching students but when the hoses were turned on, bystanders began to throw rocks and bottles at the police. To disperse them, Connor ordered police to use German shepherd dogs to keep

23: them in line. James Bevel wove in and out of the crowds warning them, "If any cops get hurt, we're going to lose this fight."At 3 p.m., the protest was over. During a kind of truce, protesters went home. Police removed the barricades and re-opened the streets to traffic. That evening King told worried parents in a crowd of a thousand, "Don't worry about your children who are in jail. The eyes of the world are on Birmingham. We're going on in spite of dogs and fire hoses. We've gone too far to turn back." Demonstrators abandoned nonviolence on May 5. Connor ordered the doors to the churches | blocked to prevent students from leaving. Black spectators taunted police, and SCLC leaders pled with them to be peaceful or go home. James Bevel borrowed a bullhorn from the police and shouted, "Everybody get off this corner. If you're not going to demonstrate in a nonviolent way, then leave!" Commissioner Connor was overheard saying, "If you'd ask half of them what freedom means, they couldn't tell you." By May 6, the jails were so full that Connor transformed the stockade at the state fairgrounds into a makeshift jail to hold protesters. Black protesters arrived at white churches to integrate services. They were accepted in Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches but turned away at others, where they knelt and prayed until they were arrested. Well-known national figures arrived to show support.

24: They were accepted in Roman Catholic, Episcopal, and Presbyterian churches but turned away at others, where they knelt and prayed until they were arrested. Well-known national figures arrived to show support.

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  • Title: Civil Rights Movement
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