Two African-American students were going to be enrolled at the University under a Federal Court order.
In June 1963, Alabama Gov. George Wallace refused to allow two black students to enter the University of Alabama forcing President Kennedy to use the National Guard to ensure the safety of the students. On June 11, President Kennedy made the decision to give a televised evening speech announcing his civil rights bill proposal.
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On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress selects Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut and Robert R. Livingston of New York to draft a declaration of independence.
Knowing Jefferson’s prowess with a pen, Adams urged him to author the first draft of the document, which was then carefully revised by Adams and Franklin before being given to Congress for review on June 28.
The revolutionary treatise began with reverberating prose:
When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.
We hold these Truths to be self-evident that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
In 1963, Dr. King was arrested at a rally in Birmingham, Ala. while protesting against segregation at lunch counters. The letter he wrote during his 11-day imprisonment argued that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and set the tone for the civil rights movement by inspiring like-minded people to join him in uniting against injustice.