Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

Sep 15, 1963: Four black schoolgirls killed in Birmingham ~ Women’s History Month


The four girls killed in the bombing (Clockwis...
The four girls killed in the bombing (Clockwise from top left, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day in 1963, a bomb explodes during Sunday morning services in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

With its large African-American congregation, the 16th Street Baptist Church served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., who once called Birmingham a “symbol of hardcore resistance to integration.” Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, made preserving racial segregation one of the central goals of his administration, and Birmingham had one of the most violent and lawless chapters of the Ku Klux Klan.

The church bombing was the third in Birmingham in 11 days after a federal order came down to integrate Alabama’s school system. Fifteen sticks of dynamite were planted in the church basement, underneath what turned out to be the girls’ restroom. The bomb detonated at 10:19 a.m., killing Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins–all 14 years old–and 11-year-old Denise McNair. Immediately after the blast, church members wandered dazed and bloodied, covered with white powder and broken stained glass, before starting to dig in the rubble to search for survivors. More than 20 other members of the congregation were injured in the blast.

When thousands of angry black protesters assembled at the crime scene, Wallace sent hundreds of police and state troopers to the area to break up the crowd. Two young black men were killed that night, one by police and another by racist thugs. Meanwhile, public outrage over the bombing continued to grow, drawing international attention to Birmingham. At a funeral for three of the girls (one’s family preferred a separate, private service), King addressed more than 8,000 mourners.

A well-known Klan member, Robert Chambliss, was charged with murder and with buying 122 sticks of dynamite. In October 1963, Chambliss was cleared of the murder charge and received a six-month jail sentence and a $100 fine for the dynamite. Although a subsequent FBI investigation identified three other men–Bobby Frank Cherry, Herman Cash and Thomas E. Blanton, Jr.–as having helped Chambliss commit the crime, it was later revealed that FBI chairman J. Edgar Hoover blocked their prosecution and shut down the investigation without filing charges in 1968. After Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley reopened the case, Chambliss was convicted in 1977 and sentenced to life in prison.

Efforts to prosecute the other three men believed responsible for the bombing continued for decades. Though Cash died in 1994, Cherry and Blanton were arrested and charged with four counts of murder in 2000. Blanton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Cherry’s trial was delayed after judges ruled he was mentally incompetent to stand trial. This decision was later reversed. On May 22, 2002, Cherry was convicted and sentenced to life, bringing a long-awaited victory to the friends and families of the four young victims.

history.com

On “Bloody Sunday” March 1965 600 civil rights marchers took to US Rte 80 ~ In Memory


Selma-to-Montgomery MarchWWW.NPS.GOV

Edmund Pettus Bridge The Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma, Alabama
Photograph courtesy of the Alabama Historical Commission

Marchers meet the Police Alabama Police confront the Selma Marchers
Federal Bureau of Investigation Photograph

The Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights ended three weeks–and three events–that represented the political and emotional peak of the modern civil rights movement. On “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965, some 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Route 80. They got only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge six blocks away, where state and local lawmen attacked them with billy clubs and tear gas and drove them back into Selma. Two days later on March 9, Martin Luther King, Jr., led a “symbolic” march to the bridge. Then civil rights leaders sought court protection for a third, full-scale march from Selma to the state capitol in Montgomery. Federal District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr., weighed the right of mobility against the right to march and ruled in favor of the demonstrators. “The law is clear that the right to petition one’s government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups…,” said Judge Johnson, “and these rights may be exercised by marching, even along public highways.” On Sunday, March 21, about 3,200 marchers set out for Montgomery, walking 12 miles a day and sleeping in fields. By the time they reached the capitol on Thursday, March 25, they were 25,000-strong. Less than five months after the last of the three marches, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965–the best possible redress of grievances.

The Selma-to-Montgomery March, National Historic Trail & All-American Road is one of the subjects of an online lesson plan, The Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March: Shaking the Conscience of the Nation, produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on places listed in the National Register of Historic Places. To learn more, visit the Teaching with Historic Places home page.

In 1996 the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail was created by Congress under the National Trails System Act of 1968. Like other “historic” trails covered in the legislation, the Alabama trail is an original route of national significance in American history. An inter-agency panel of experts recommended, and the Secretary of Transportation designated the trail an “All-American Road”–a road that has national significance, cannot be replicated, and is a destination unto itself. This designation is the highest tribute a road can receive under the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program, created by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991.

Selma~ After Half a Century of Fighting for Justice — we press on ~ In memory History and a man who earned his Presidential medal of freedom



After Half a Century of Fighting for Justice.

Thanks to alan grayson … we are reminded who is fighting for the People and needs our Support

Contribute to:  John Lewis and Alan Grayson

There is a general impression, on the part of many, that the Sixties was a decade-long haze of drugs and free love.  I can’t really say, since I was born in 1958.  I know one person, however, who certainly did not experience it that way.   That person is Congressman John Lewis.
John Lewis was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, who challenged racial segregation on the buses in the South.  He also was the Chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.
In 1961 and 1962, Lewis was arrested.  Twenty-four times.
In Anniston, Alabama, Klan members deflated the tires of a bus that Lewis and the other Freedom Riders had boarded.  Then they firebombed it.
In Birmingham, Lewis was beaten.  In Rock Hill, South Carolina, two white men punched Lewis in the face, and kicked him in the ribs.
In Montgomery, a mob met the bus, took Lewis off the bus, knocked him over the head with a wooden crate, and left him unconscious on the bus station floor.
On one day in 1965, a day known as “Bloody Sunday,” Alabama state troopers in Selma hit civil rights demonstrators with tear gas, charged into them, and beat them with clubs.  They broke John Lewis’s skull.
I’ve seen the scars on his head.
Somehow, all of that . . . pain . . . forged an outstanding Congressman.   A champion on universal healthcare.  A forceful proponent of gay rights.  An apostle of peace.
This month, for only the second time in his 26 years in Congress, John Lewis faces a primary challenge.  I don’t know who is running against him, and I don’t really care.  Whoever he is, he has not earned the job the way that John Lewis has, and he can’t do the job the way that John Lewis does it.
I’m just glad that there are people like John Lewis in Congress.

I’m asking you to help re-elect this great man, and this great leader.  You’ll feel good to help him, just as I feel good to know him.  Click here.
Courage,

Alan Grayson

In the Library … Lillian Walker , by John C. Hughes


OLYMPIA…Bremerton civil rights heroine Lillian Walker

The new book is called “Lillian Walker, Washington Civil Rights Pioneer,” written by John C. Hughes, an author and interviewer with The Legacy Project, an oral history program established by the Office of Secretary of State in 2008. The book is published by the Washington State Heritage Center and printed by Gorham Printing.Joyce.

“The YWCA’s goal is to make Mrs. Walker’s inspirational story available to all school and public libraries in the nation as an example of a young person who not only had the courage to stand up for what is right, but also to continue to stay involved in her community to make it better over a 70-year time period,” Jackson said.

Click here http://www.sos.wa.gov/legacyproject/oralhistories/lillianwalker/ to read The Legacy Project’s oral history on Lillian Walker based on sit-down interviews, as well as photos and other materials.

Lillian Walker helped found the Bremerton branch of the NAACP in 1943 and went on to serve as state NAACP secretary. She was conducting sit-ins and filing civil rights lawsuits when Martin Luther King was in junior high school.

Mrs. Walker and her late husband, James, arrived in the Navy Yard city of Bremerton in 1941 together with thousands of other AfricanAmerican wartime workers who thought they had left racism behind in the South and industrialized cities of Midwest and East. But many Kitsap County businesses, including cafes, taverns, drug stores and barber shops, displayed signs saying, “We Cater to White Trade Only.” In a landmark case, the Walkers took a soda fountain owner to court and won.

Mrs. Walker is a charter member of the YWCA of Kitsap County, former chairman of the Kitsap County Regional Library Board, a 69-year member of Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church, and a founder and former president of Church Women United in Bremerton.

To learn more about The Legacy Project, go to its web site at http://www.sos.wa.gov/heritage/LegacyProject/default.aspx.

“I Have a Dream Speech” 8/28/1963


 

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr., delivered a speech to a massive group of civil rights marchers gathered around the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC.  The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom brought together the nations most prominent civil rights leaders, along with tens  of thousands of marchers, to press the United States government for equality.   The culmination of this event was the influential and most memorable speech of Dr. King’s career.  Popularly known as the “I have a Dream” speech, the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. influenced  the Federal government to take more direct actions to more fully realize racial equality.

Mister Maestro, Inc., and Twentieth Century Fox Records Company recorded the speech and offered the recording for sale.   Dr. King and his attorneys claimed that the speech was copyrighted and the recording violated that copyright. The court found in favor of Dr. King. Among the papers filed in the case and available at the National Archives at New York City is a deposition given by Martin Luther King, Jr. and signed in his own hand.

RIP

-Nativegrl