Tags: Presidential History | bull | connor | kennedy

56 Years Ago: Dogs, Fire Hoses Unleashed on African American Children

civil rights and civil rights law and justice

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Friday, 03 May 2019 04:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

One of the most infamous moments of the civil rights era took place 56 years ago today in Birmingham, Alabama. That was the day Police Commissioner Bull Connor unleashed fire hoses and police dogs on African American schoolchildren.

His horrific actions came just a day after nearly 1,000 schoolchildren had been arrested for challenging the status quo.

The images from Birmingham were seen around the world and helped create one of the pivotal moments in the civil rights era.

Nine days later, President John F. Kennedy pledged that the federal government would "do whatever must be done" to preserve order. He backed up that pledge with military forces trained in riot control. However, tensions and violence continued throughout the year.

The May 3 attack on students did not take place in a vacuum, of course. Tensions had been building for months. Earlier in the year, Ala. Gov. George C. Wallace used his inaugural address to call for "segregation now . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever!"

As the crisis escalated, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested on April 12—Good Friday. While King was in jail on that Easter weekend, black worshippers were denied entry to white churches, and white clergy urged the black community to stop protesting.

In response, King wrote the powerful "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and argued that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws and take direct action.

Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author. Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day is published by Ballotpedia weekdays at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author.

Scott Rasmussen is founder and president of the Rasmussen Media Group. He is the author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," "In Search of Self-Governance," and "The People’s Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt." Read more reports from Scott Rasmussen — Click Here Now.

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Police Commissioner Bull Connor unleashed fire hoses and police dogs on African American schoolchildren. His horrific actions came just a day after nearly 1,000 schoolchildren had been arrested for challenging the status quo.
bull, connor, kennedy
355
2019-52-03
Friday, 03 May 2019 04:52 PM
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