On this day in Alabama history: the Children’s Crusade began

On this day in Alabama history: the Children’s Crusade began
In this May 3, 1963, photo, Birmingham police officers take signs from young people participating in the Children's Crusade. This effort was part of the larger Birmingham Campaign of 1963, a widespread movement aimed at ending segregation in Alabama's largest city. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photograph by Ed Jones, photo courtesy of The Birmingham News)

May 2, 2018

In April 1963, the fight for civil rights in Birmingham was beginning to hit a wall. Efforts organized by the Revs. Fred Shuttlesworth and Martin Luther King Jr. to desegregate public areas were not gaining traction. One area of concern was the lack of media attention to the protests.

From this came discussions by the organizers to find new faces for the movement. The plan called for schoolchildren of various ages to skip school and walk in large groups from participating churches to City Hall. On this day, the children were taken peacefully into custody, but ended up filling the detention facilities.

The next day, the eyes of the world were on Birmingham, as the second day of the crusade was met with fire hoses and police dogs – and the movement changed forever.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.


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