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Birmingham, Alabama 1963.

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Presentation on theme: "Birmingham, Alabama 1963."— Presentation transcript:

1 Birmingham, Alabama 1963

2 Freedom Rides and Sit-ins highlighted the power…
The media Martin Luther King hoped to use this to win the backing of the American people and President… John F Kennedy

3 Martin Luther King believed that Birmingham, Alabama, was the most racist, most segregated city in the USA Birmingham

4 The Governor of Alabama was called George Wallace
The Chief of Police was called ‘Bull’ Connor Both were well known racists Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation for ever. George Wallace

5 April and May 1963 a new protest campaign was launched in Birmingham
WHY? I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham. Birmingham is probably the most segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of police brutality is known in every section of the country. Its unjust treatment of the Negroes in the courts is a notorious reality. There have been more unsolved bombings of Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any city in this nation.

6 Protesters risked their lives
Civil rights leaders called Birmingham ‘Bombingham’ Klan in Birmingham was one of most violent in the country Klan had the support of the Birmingham Police Department led by Bull Connor

7 Civil Rights protesters knew if they were successful this could spark off big change in the South
Leaders – Martin Luther King and Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth They had clear objectives Desegregate public facilities and department stores The campaign in Birmingham will surely be the toughest fight of our civil rights career. It could successfully break the back of segregation all over our nation.

8 Even before the march started King and Shuttlesworth were arrested
April 20 released from jail School children were to lead the march WHY? TV footage of them being arrested would embarrass the city

9 The March Begins.. 2 May – Bull Connor was waiting and organised
Connor ordered the arrest of the school children 900 children aged 6-18 were jailed

10 3 May – Connor called for…..
water cannons, dogs and even electric cattle prods on the demonstrators KKK held marches through the streets - police did nothing to stop them As 30,000 marchers paraded down the streets the police attacked


12 4 May – marchers came down the street.
- Connor ordered an attack - firemen refuse to turn on their hoses; the police would not attack the marchers - arrests still happened.

13 5th May – three reactions:
King: wanted to end the march. They were achieving massive publicity, but it was at a huge cost. Local businessmen: desperate for a solution – were losing business. They offered a deal. They agreed to de-segregate rest rooms, lunch counters, fitting rooms and drinking fountains within 90 days. KKK: furious at the deal. Rioted and fire-bombed black churches, businesses and homes.

14 American public and the rest of the world was outraged by what they saw on TV
American public demanded change

15 President Kennedy could not ignore the mood of the
country If an American, because of his skin colour, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best school there is, if he cannot vote for the politicians who represent him, are we to say to the world that this is the land of the free, except for the Negroes? The following week he said on TV Next week I shall ask Congress (the US parliament) to act, to make a commitment it has not fully made this century ... that race has no place in American life or law.

16 The civil rights people should thank God for Bull Connor.
Why did the protest seem to succeed? The civil rights people should thank God for Bull Connor. Sure, thank God for Bull Connor, but also thank the TV cameras and news reporters.

17 Was the protest a success?
YES Stores were desegregated opportunities for African Americans in jobs ‘improved’ Bi-racial committee was set up to improve Birmingham’s troubled community. The scenes of police dogs attacking children and youths pushed Kennedy into greater action - civil rights legislation shortly followed. The media had once again shown America what life was like for African Americans in the South – caused embarrassment

18 Was the protest a success?
NO Very costly in human life Volunteers from the North rushed to Birmingham to help the protesters – many were beaten by the police Three students from the North were murdered in Mississippi. So was Mississippi NAACP leader, Evers. Bombings of King’s brother’s house and King’s motel room - provoked riots 1100 students who had attended the demonstrations were expelled for truancy from city schools and colleges. Only a federal court order got them reinstated. Black Americans who lived in Birmingham opposed to the tactics used – they had to live with white hostility when the Civil Rights workers left town.

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