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The Birmingham Campaign Essay

1720 words - 7 pages

Ever since the African American race was brought over to the United States they have been mistreated. Upon their arrival, Americans instantly enslaved them and used them for work, not even considering them as people. With the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865, slavery was finally outlawed; however, “colored” people were still treated unequally through segregation. Segregation was legalized by the Court decision in the case Plessy v. Ferguson. But, in 1952, the case Brown v. Board of Education upturned the Plessy v. Ferguson precedent saying that the “separate but equal doctrine was unconstitutional. The result was a nation wide integration. Everything from schools to businesses to restaurants and bathrooms became integrated. Unfortunately, not all states took to this integration kindly. Many did everything they could to resist African Americans from mixing with whites. The southern most states were particularly vicious about this segregation going to the extent of bombings to quell the hopes of African Americans. But one city was determined to fight segregation. Birmingham, Alabama was the site of one of the most prominent parts of the civil rights movement and despite a decade since Brown v. Board of Education, Birmingham refused to integrate. The Birmingham campaign was one of the most influential movements of the civil rights movement and was the turning point in the war against segregation. The violence and cruelty inflicted upon African Americans not only united the people of the city, but it also united the people of the nation.
The African American Civil Rights Movement was aimed at outlawing the discrimination that many African Americans faced in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In 1963, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference designed a movement to show how the African Americans were being mistreated. This movement became known as the Birmingham campaign. Among its leaders was the SCLC president, Martin Luther King Jr. who used nonviolent direct action to protest laws that were deemed unfair. However, because of the rigid segregationist in Birmingham, their efforts were made difficult. To hinder the protest city officials would often use police dogs or fire hoses to break up demonstrations. The Ku Klux Klan and other extremist bombed many of the leaders homes and even a church in an attempt to discourage the morale and efforts of protesters.
The Birmingham campaign was officially launched on April 13 and started with simple boycotts to pressure business leaders to provide equal employment opportunities for African Americans. The leaders also organized marches and sit-ins with throngs of people causing mass arrests. When the campaign began to lose adults, it started training children and young adults to protest, which led to the famous Children’s Crusade. On May 2, 1963, more than a thousand students lead demonstrations in downtown Birmingham. This resulted in over 600 kids being arrested,...

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