World House Podcast: Episode 11 -1963 Birmingham Part 2
Birmingham firefighters directing fire hoses at demonstrators, May 1963.
After violating the court injunction against protests, Martin Luther King, Jr., was arrested and jailed on 12 March 1963. While in jail, King composed a response to Birmingham's white clergymen's criticism of the protests. His passionate and eloquent writing became known as The Letter From Birmingham Jail.
Meanwhile, to sustain the momentum of the campaign, SCLC organizers James Bevel
, Diana Nash
, and Andrew Young
, planned to involve high school students in the protests.
On 2 May more than 1,000 African American children marched into downtown Birmingham; the police arrested hundreds of them. The next day, as more students arrived, public safety commissioner "Bull" Connor
directed local police and fire departments to use force to stop the demonstrations. During the following days, images of children being blasted by high-pressure fire hoses, beaten by officers, and attacked by police dogs appeared in the news triggering national outrage. Eventually, local business owners agreed to negotiate with the protest leaders. By 10 May the demonstrations were halted and the negotiators had reached an agreement.
This episode focuses on the events that took place in April and May of 1963 in downtown Birmingham, AL. In addition, Dr. Carson discusses the complicated relationship between King and Shuttlesworth and the long term consequences the campaign would have for both men.
For more information and educational resources go to: Letter From Birmingham Jail, The Children's Crusade & the Role of Youth in the African American Freedom Struggle, Birmingham
Clayborne Carson, Liberation Curriculum