Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Birmingham Children’s March

In May 1963, hundreds of children left school to be arrested, set free, and then arrested again for attempting to march nonviolently to see the mayor of Birmingham and talk about city-wide segregation. Also known as the Children’s Crusade, the march was organized by James Bevel and had the blessing of Martin Luther King Jr. Birmingham police chief Bull Connor unleashed fire hoses and police dogs on the children, bringing a world spotlight and national outrage at Birmingham officials and at the conditions in the American South. Many claim that President John F. Kennedy’s endorsement of racial equality and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a direct result of the reaction.