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Thu, 05.02.1963

The Children’s Crusade Begins in Alabama

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

Organized by Rev. James Bevel, the purpose of the march was to walk downtown and talk to the mayor about segregation in their city.  Many children left their schools in order to be arrested, set free, and then to get arrested again the next day.  Birmingham police chief “Bull Connor” brought in fire hoses to ward off the children and set police dogs after the children to stop the marches.  Malcolm X was opposed to 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 used prevented them from meeting the Mayor, the students remained non violent. This event prompted President John F. Kennedy to publicly fully support racial equality and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Encyclopedia of Alabama

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