What Happened in Birmingham after the Agreement Was Settled upon

On April 20, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy left Birmingham prison after being arrested for 8 days. In the early 1960s, Birmingham was one of the most racially divided cities in the United States, both legally and culturally. Black citizens faced legal and economic inequality and violent retaliation when they tried to raise awareness of their issues. Martin Luther King Jr. called it the most segregated city in the country. [4] The Birmingham protests began with a shuttlesworth-led boycott aimed at pressuring business leaders to open jobs for people of all races and end segregation in public institutions, restaurants, schools and shops. When business and local government leaders resisted the boycott, SCLC agreed to help. Organizer Wyatt Tee Walker joined Birmingham activist Shuttlesworth and began what they called Project C, a series of sit-ins and marches designed to provoke mass arrests. The organizers of the protests knew they would face violence from the Birmingham Police Department and took a confrontational approach to attract the attention of the federal government. [23] Wyatt Tee Walker, one of the founders of the SCLC and executive director from 1960 to 1964, planned the tactics of direct action protests, specifically targeting Bull Connor`s tendency to respond to protests with violence: “My theory was that if we were to build a strong nonviolent movement, the opposition would certainly do something to attract the media. and, in turn, to arouse national sympathy and attention for the daily circumstances of segregation of a person living in the Deep South.

[22] He led the planning of what he called Project C, which stood for “confrontation.” Organizers thought their phones were tapped and, to prevent their plans from leaking and potentially influencing the mayoral election, they used code words for the protests. [39] The abolition of racial segregation in Birmingham was slow after the protests. King and the SCLC have been criticized by some for ending the campaign with overly vague promises and “settling for much less than even moderate demands.” [108] Indeed, Sydney Smyer, president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, reinterpreted the terms of the agreement. Shuttlesworth and King had announced that the isolation would take place 90 days after May 15. Smyer went on to say that a single black employee hired 90 days after the new city government took office would suffice. [109] By July, most of the city`s segregation ordinances had been repealed. Some lunch counters in department stores complied with the new rules. City parks and golf courses have been reopened to black and white citizens. Mayor Boutwell appointed a Bourassien committee to discuss further changes. However, the recruitment of black employees, police officers and firefighters was still ongoing and the Birmingham Bar Association rejected the membership of black lawyers. [107] On April 10, 1963, the city government obtained a court order against the protests. After a debate, campaign leaders decided not to comply with the court order.

King questioned whether he and Ralph Abernathy – the SCLC`s deputy – should be arrested. King decided he had to risk jail. On Good Friday, April 12, 1963, King was arrested in Birmingham after violating the anti-protest order and taking him to solitary confinement. Meanwhile, he wrote “Letter from Birmingham Prison” on the sidelines of the Birmingham News, in response to a statement issued by eight Birmingham clergy condemning the protests. The organizers of the movement ran out of money after the increase in the amount of the required deposit. As King was the main fundraiser, his staff urged him to travel the country to collect bail money for those arrested. However, he had already promised to take the protesters to prison in solidarity, but hesitated when the scheduled date arrived. Some MEMBERS OF THE SCLC were frustrated by his indecision. “I`ve never seen Martin so worried,” one of King`s friends later said. [51] After King prayed and thought alone in his hotel room, he and campaign leaders decided to oppose the injunction and prepared for mass arrests of campaign supporters.

To cheer up and recruit volunteers to go to prison, Ralph Abernathy spoke at a mass rally of black citizens of Birmingham at the 6th Avenue Baptist Church: “The eyes of the world are on Birmingham tonight. Bobby Kennedy looks here in Birmingham, the United States Congress in Birmingham. The Department of Justice is looking into Birmingham. Are you ready, are you ready for the challenge? I`m ready to go to jail, right? [52] Along with Abernathy, King was one of 50 Birmingham residents between the ages of 15 and 81 who were arrested on Good Friday, April 12, 1963. This was King`s 13th arrest. [43] Four months after the deal reached during the election campaign in Birmingham, someone bombed the home of NAACP lawyer Arthur Shores and wounded his wife in the attack. Feared, Birmingham`s segregationists responded with violence. On the day the deal was announced, bombs exploded near the motel room where Martin Luther King had stayed. On May 11, the home of King`s brother, Alfred Daniel King, was bombed. In response, President Kennedy ordered 3,000 federal troops in Birmingham and federalized the Alabama National Guard.

The Birmingham campaign inspired the civil rights movement in other parts of the South. Two days after King and Shuttlesworth announced the deal in Birmingham, the NAACP`s Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, called for a Bourasse committee to address concerns there. [123] On June 12, 1963, Evers was shot dead in front of his house. He had staged demonstrations similar to those in Birmingham to put pressure on the Jackson city government. In 1965, Shuttlesworth supported Bevel, King, and the SCLC to lead marches from Selma to Montgomery to increase voter registration among black citizens. At Kennedy`s insistence, the United Auto Workers, the Maritime National Union, the United Steelworkers and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) received a $237,000 bond ($1,980,000 in 2020) to release the protesters. [102] Commissioner Connor and the outgoing Mayor condemned the resolution. [103] The Department of Justice sent an envoy to promote negotiations between the City of Birmingham and Martin Luther King. The colony, known as the Birmingham Armistice Agreement, consisted of: Janice Kelsey was 15 years old when she attended her first meeting for the Children`s Crusade. “I knew what segregation and separation were, but I didn`t understand the extent or extent of the inequalities in that separation,” recalls Kelsey, a Birmingham native who wrote about her experiences in the movement in her 2017 memoir, I Woke Up with my Mind on Freedom. On April 10, the city government obtained an injunction against the protests. After heated debate, the campaign managers decided not to comply with the court order.

King declared, “We cannot, in all conscience, obey such an injunction, which constitutes an unjust, undemocratic, and unconstitutional abuse of the trial” (ACMHR, April 11, 1963). However, plans to continue to submit to arrest were threatened because the money available for cash bonds had been exhausted, so the leaders could no longer guarantee that the arrested protesters would be released. King wondered if he and Ralph Abernathy should be arrested. Given the bail`s lack of money, King`s services as a fundraiser were desperately needed, but King also feared that his inability to submit to arrests would undermine his credibility. .

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