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Thu, 05.02.1963

The Children’s Crusade Begins in Alabama

*The Children's Crusade of the 20th-century civil rights Movement began on this date in 1963. This was a march by hundreds of school students in Birmingham, Alabama.  It was from May 2, May 3, May 4, and May 5, 1963, during the American Civil Rights Movement's Birmingham Campaign.

Rev. James Bevel organized the march to walk downtown and talk to the mayor about segregation in their city.  Many children left their schools to be arrested, set free, and arrested again the next day.  Birmingham police chief “Bull Connor” brought fire hoses to ward off the children and set police dogs after the children to stop the marches.

Malcolm X opposed the event because he thought it might expose the children to violence. He said, "Real men don't put their children on the firing line.” This was a pivotal civil rights campaign fought in Birmingham, (then) the most segregated city in the US.

Though fire hoses and dogs prevented them from meeting the Mayor, the students remained nonviolent. This event prompted President John F. Kennedy to support racial equality publicly and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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