World House Podcast: Episode 10 -1963 Birmingham: Planning for Confrontation
Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, Ralph Abernathy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963.
It is the winter of 1962. Martin Luther King, Jr., decided to join the local activists and the movement leader Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth in their preparation for the Birmingham Campaign, a major initiative against segregation in the city of Birmingham, Alabama. Notorious for racial discrimination, Birmingham had a reputation as a stronghold of segregation and racial violence in the South. One of the most ardent segregationists in Birmingham was Public Safety Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor. At the time of the preparation for the Birmingham Campaign, Connor was running for the position of mayor. In order to prevent interference with this election, Shuttlesworth postponed the protests until after the election was decided in favor of a more moderate candidate, Albert Boutwell. On April 3rd the Birmingham campaign was launched, including sit-ins, marches on City Hall, and a boycott of downtown merchants. However, within one week, the city government obtained a court injunction against the protests. The campaign leaders had to decide whether they would disobey the court order and if so what would be the consequences?
This episode focuses on the months of preparation for the Birmingham Campaign, which took place in April 1963. Find out more about the strategies and plans that the organizers put together to attack the city's segregation system. Finally, learn about how King made one of his toughest decisions on whether he would continue fundraising for bail money for the jailed demonstrators or go to jail in solidarity with them.
For more information go to: King Institute and the Birmingham Campaign
Clayborne Carson, Liberation Curriculum