Fifty years ago today in America, thousands of African-American elementary and high school children left classrooms, went to 16th Street Baptist Church, gathered at Ingram Kelly Park, forgot fear, faced fire hoses, and met the dogs and demons of hatred on their fight for freedom. Starting on May 2, 1963, the Children’s March moved civil rights from being Birmingham, Alabama’s little secret to gaining worldwide attention.
Children embraced a challenge. They went to jail for a cause. They raised the level of awareness about the awful state of trying to let freedom ring in Alabama. They changed segregation’s course.
Children made a difference in civil rights fifty years ago. That difference inspires today’s broader human rights movement. Children did something. What are you doing?
There are several great resources to learn more about the Children’s March. A good start is a tool produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center used to teach tolerance, “Mighty Times: The Children’s March.” The 2005 Academy Award-winning film documents the story of the 1963 march.
- 50 years later, recalling the young ‘foot soldiers’ of the civil rights struggle (religionnews.com)
- We’ve Got a Job: Learning How the Children of Birmingham Saved the Civil Rights Movement (bookpeopleblog.wordpress.com)
- Children’s March 1963: A Defiant Moment (theroot.com)
- AL.com / The Birmingham News Launches Traveling Photo Exhibit on 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail (prweb.com)
- 50 Years Later, Recalling The Young ‘Foot Soldiers’ Of Civil Rights (huffingtonpost.com)
- How the Media Covered the Civil Rights Movement (Alabama Public Radio)