During the Civil Rights Movement, many people decided to join together to protest segregation. One group that formed was called the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This group was run by students and was formed to organize sit-ins as nonviolent ways to bring about integration in such places as restaurants, bathrooms, parks, and schools.
One of the most memorable events during the Civil Rights Movement was when little children in Birmingham, Alabama, joined together to try to help bring integration to their city. Thousands of elementary and high school children participated in the events that became known as the Children’s Crusade.
DID YOU KNOW that in the spring of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived in Birmingham, Alabama, where he set up daily workshops to teach people how to use nonviolence. Every night large meetings were held at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Dr. King and other leaders spoke at these church meetings. Prayers were said and freedom songs were sung.
The Children’s Crusade began on May 2 when suddenly, hundreds of children began marching out of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Over the next couple of days, thousands of school children marched out of the church and tried to walk downtown where they were not allowed to go. Police arrested hundreds of little children by loading them onto school buses and taking them to jail. When the jail got full, the children were arrested and bused to the local fairground.
Eventually, several committees met to discuss changes in Birmingham. It was agreed that Birmingham would begin to integrate different parts of the city over a period of 90 days. The children were released from jail, some of them having stayed there at least seven days.
That same year, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s most famous speech was given during the March on Washington. In this “I Have a Dream” speech, he shared his dream of black boys and girls joining hands with white boys and girls as brother and sisters in America.
On this holiday today, and in the year ahead, may we each make it our goal to help Dr. King’s dream become a reality in our own neighborhood as well as in our nation and in our world.
-excerpted from A Kid’s Guide to African American History
Today, The Brown Bookshelf announced the twenty-four authors and four illustrators to be spotlighted in the groups’ third annual 28 Days Later initiative, a month-long celebration of veteran and emerging children’s authors of color. Read the list of those to be honored at The Brown Bookshelf.