In my last article, I wrote about how even college-aged students could make a lasting impression on the world. The focus of the last article was the Vietnam War Protests – which inspired me to write about an even more astonishing feat; the Children’s March in Birmingham, Alabama.
You see, in Alabama during the 1960s, racism was being fought to keep. The Southerners did not want desegregation to occur and did everything that they could to keep the races apart – and yes, the KKK was rampant.
Reverend Jim Bevel, who you can read about here, had the brilliant idea to let children be the means by which protests should be made; considering that if the adults were to be tried, they would lose their jobs and not be able to support their families. Of course, the parents criticized this – but a spark ignited in the hearts of the youth, and you could not tell them no.
The prospect was to get arrested; to be released, and then to get arrested the next day.
One of the youngest children to be put in jail during all of this was a four year old. That’s what I mean when I say that children can do anything – and that ageism is nothing but a number.
Then, the man in charge – Bull Connor – came prepared the day after, equipped with fire hoses and attack dogs.
The Daily Beast has stated, in their article “How the Children of Birmingham Changed the Civil Rights Movement,”
“Pictures of the bravery and determination of the Birmingham children as they faced the brutal fire hoses and vicious police dogs were splashed on the front pages of newspapers all across America and helped turn the tide of public opinion in support of the civil-rights movement’s fight for justice,” says Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund.”
Two things occurred as a result of the children’s march. And they are as follows:
#1. The Children’s Crusade had been a success as a result of the city of Birmingham negotiating a truce with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, removing Bull Connor from his seven-term position in office.
#2. Then, President John F. Kennedy did something that the world did not expect him to do; he came on national television, gave a speech, and proposed the Civil Rights act.
It is fair to say that without the aid of those children, these milestones in civil rights would not have ever occurred. Because of the children, civil rights became something that was embarrassing to the nation, and embarrassing to the world in general. All of this was shared, in pictures and video, in our country and outside of our country.
I can only imagine the other countries looking at what was going on in the South and asking themselves, “So, that’s what Democracy is?”
Regardless, it was successful. And it just goes to show that you can do something great too.