Black History Month 2024

1962 1963 1964

35 John F. Kennedy | 36 Lyndon B. Johnson | 37 Richard M. Nixon

Redemption Jim Crow Black Power

April 3-May 10, 1963
Birmingham Black Rights Campaign



Birmingham, Alabama - The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planned protests of racial segregation. These protests were led by Martin Luther King, James Bevel, and Fred Shuttlesworth. King called Birmingham the most segregated city in the country.

As the protests continued, volunteers ran low. It was decided to include children. They came from elementary, middle, and high school.

The Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene 'Bull' Connor acted against the children. Connor sent high pressure water hoses and attack dogs at the children. Hundreds of children and adults were arrested.

40% of Birmingham's population were Black Americans. Yet, none worked for the Birmingham Police Department.

Images of this period showed the harsh brutality of segregation in the South. Whites attacked defenseless and huddled children, because of skin color. The children were no threat to anyone.

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May 11, 1963
Birmingham May Bombings of 1963



Birmingham, Alabama - Bombs exploded at the home of A. D. King (Martin Luther King's brother), and under the room where Martin Luther King had stayed the previous nights.

The first bomb was placed by a uniformed police worker. He drove a marked police car to the home of A. D. King. There he placed a bomb near the porch. The second was thrown at Room 30, of the Gaston Motel.

There was a month-long protest in Birmingham, for racial justice. Finally, local white Birmingham politicians and bureaucrats agreed to concessions. On Friday, May 10th, they agreed to limit racial discrimination and lessen segregation.

In response, on Saturday, May 11th, a white supremacist rally was called outside Birmingham, in Bessemer, Alabama. That evening, at 10:45 p.m., a bomb exploded at A. D. King's home, planted by the Birmingham police.

Just before midnight, at 11:58 p.m., the bomb exploded at the Gaston Hotel. The explosion could be heard across town.

Later, President John F. Kennedy remarked, 'the people who've gotten out of hand are not the white people, but the Negroes by and large.' On this basis, Kennedy called on the military to enter Birmingham.

No deaths or injuries were caused by the explosive devices (bombs). Martin Luther King had left earlier, to go to Atlanta.

The guest, in the room below King's, slept elsewhere. He had planned to sleep there, to get a break from the meetings at his house. But, fatigue forced him to sleep at home.

The bomb at the home of A. D. King did not do enough damage to cause injury. No one was prosecuted for the bombings.

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June 12, 1963
Medger Evers Killed



Jackson, Mississippi - Medger Evers was murdered, at his home. The murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, was tried and convicted.

Early Wednesday morning, Medger Evers returned home to his waiting wife and children. Evers got out of his car. He carried T-shirts that read 'Jim Crow Must Go' in his hands. There, he was shot in the back, from an Enfield 1917 rifle. The bullet struck the 37 year-old Evers through his heart.

After the shot, Evers staggered 30 feet, to the front door of his house. There he collapsed. His wife, Myrtle, found him there.

Evers was taken to the local hospital. He was refused entry, because he was a Black American man. His family explained who he was and the hospital admitted him. Evers was in the hospital for 50 minutes, and died.

On June 19th, 1963, Evers was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in the funeral procession. Evers' funeral got full military honors.

Myrtle Evers fought to get the murderer convicted. On February 5th, 1994, Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of Evers' murder. It took 30 years, but Evers' murderer was sent to prison. Beckwith died in prison on Jaunary 21st, 2001.

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August 28, 1963
'I Have A Dream' Speech Given



Washington, D. C. - At the March on Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to the crowd. It was his 'I Have A Dream' speech.

The event was formally known as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It took place at the National Mall. 250,000 attended.

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August 30, 1963
Martin Luther King Targeted By FBI



Washington, D. C. - J. Edgar Hoover was alarmed by the success of the March on Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. was seen as a communist threat by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Hoover had been Director of the FBI since 1924 (39 years). He saw King as a threat to national security. The Soviets (Russians) used the plight of Black Americans for diplomacy. They used lynching and segregation to expose American freedom and democracy.

In a comment, Hoover made these comments. 'I for one can't ignore the memos re King, [words redacted] et al as having only an infinitesimal effect on the efforts to exploit the American Negro by the Communists.'

W. C. Sullivan, of the FBI released a memo, after King's speech of two days before.

'Personally, I believe in the light of King's powerful demagogic speech yesterday he stands head and shoulders over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses of Negroes. We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.'

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September 15, 1963
Birmingham Church Bombing



Birmingham, Alabama - Four white males killed four (4) Black American girls in church. A bomb was placed at the 16th Street Baptist Church. More than a dozen people were injured. The only deaths were the children.

The victims were Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair. The bombers were in the Ku Klux Klan. They were Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr., Herman Frank Cash, Robert Edward Chambliss, and Bobby Frank Cherry.

On Sunday morning, the four (4) planted 15 sticks of dynamite at the church. The sticks were placed under the church steps, with a time delay. This was near the church basement.

About 10:22 a.m., there were five (5) children in the basement bathroom. They wore their best Sunday clothes. They changed into choir robes for the Sunday sermon.

The phone rang. The acting Sunday School secretary answered. She was Carolyn Maull, a 14-year-old girl. She heard the words, 'Three minutes.'

Less than a minute later, the bomb exploded. It threw the girls' bodies through the air like rag dolls. The explosion blew a 7-foot hole in the rear wall. A passing driver was blown out of his car. Several parked cars next to the church were destroyed.

Four of the girls were killed. The fifth was Susan Collins. She was the sister of Addie Mae. Susan was permanently blinded by the blast.

In 1977, Robert Chambliss was convicted for one of the murders. He was sent to jail for the murder of 11-year-old Carol Denise McNair.

In 2001, Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr. was convicted of all four (4) murders. He got life in prison.

In 2002, Bobby Cherry was convicted of all four (4) murders. He got life in prison.

Herman Cash died in 1994. He was never tried.

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December 1, 1963
'Chickens coming home to roost'



New York, New York - With respect to the chickens coming home to roost, Malcolm X’s full statement was never published.

On December 1st, 1963, Malcolm X spoke, at his talk, to a person in the audience. It was titled, 'God’s Judgment of White America.'

The next day the New York Times printed an article on the talk. The headline was 'Malcolm X Scores U.S. and Kennedy'. It quoted Malcolm X. The story read, 'Kennedy twiddled his thumbs at the killing of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu.'

The article added that Malcolm X said, JFK 'never foresaw that the chickens would come to roost so soon.' JFK had been killed nine (9) days before, on November 22nd, 1963.

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