The Birmingham Campaign was a series of anti-racial segregation protests that took place in Birmingham, Alabama in April of 1963.
Background[change | change source]
Birmingham, Alabama, was a segregated city in the early 1960s. This meant that black and white people had to be kept apart. There were a variety of schools, restaurants, drinking fountains, and housing options available to them. Jim Crow laws were even passed that authorized and enforced segregation. In most situations, amenities for black people, such as schools, were inferior to those for white people. Several African-American leaders agreed to organize a huge protest to bring the issue of segregation in Birmingham to the attention of the rest of the country.
Violence[change | change source]
Martin Luther King, Jr. was staying at the Gaston Motel when it was bombed on May 11th. Fortunately, he had departed earlier. In the residence of A.D. King, King's younger brother, another explosion exploded. In response to the explosions, the demonstrators became more violent. They rioted across the city, torching buildings and cars and assaulting police officers. To restore control, soldiers from the United States Army were dispatched.
The Youth Protest[change | change source]
Despite its best efforts, the campaign did not receive the national attention that its strategists had hoped for. They decided to include students in the demonstrations. On May 2, almost a thousand African-American kids skipped school to join the protests. Demonstrators quickly overflowed the cells in Birmingham. With the cells full. He used police dogs and fire hoses on the kids. Images of children being hosed down and dogs being mauled made national headlines. The protests had drawn the attention of the entire country.
Results[change | change source]
Despite the fact that there were still numerous issues with racism, the Birmingham campaign helped to break down several barriers to segregation. When the new school year began in September of 1963, the schools were likewise integrated. The campaign's most important effect was the nationalization of the issues and the engagement of leaders like President John F. Kennedy.