The Child Effect – A story of how kids made a difference in the civil rights movement.

This is a story brought to attention by one of our vendors (I love working with socially and environmentally aware people!)…

The Children’s March
The Story of How Kids Changed the Course of the Civil Rights Movement in America

In the spring of 1963, Birmingham, Alabama was ground zero for the Civil Rights Movement. Heavy intimidation by Birmingham authorities had created intense fear and anxiety amongst movement members and paralysis had begun to take hold. Many were ready to give up, but one night, when Dr. King asked who would demonstrate with him, ready to go to jail if arrested, the children of the meeting hall stood up. Dr. King was grateful for their offer and thanked them but refused to allow their participation. The children, however, would not be denied the opportunity to be part of change. They reasoned that if they were old enough to experience discrimination, they were old enough to fight against it.

On May 2, 1963, using a secret word-of-mouth network, more than 4,000 black school children organized themselves to desert classrooms at exactly 11 am, touching off a week of mass demonstrations and rioting that shocked the nation and rocked the world. Police tried to stop them with attack dogs and fire hoses but the children would not be discouraged. As expected, notorious Sheriff Bull Connor arrested the young protesters and put them in jail.

Across the nation, people watched as Birmingham police abused and jailed thousands of children whose only crime was to advocate for a normal childhood.  Up to now, President Kennedy felt he could do nothing about segregation in the South. After the chaos and embarrassment of the Birmingham Children’s March, he could no longer stand by and watch.  The Children’s March had awakened the nation — the ugly, violent, and unjust situation in Alabama was no longer a “local issue.” The original goal of the Children’s March was to desegregate downtown stores in Birmingham.  Now, Dr. King had a global stage and the leverage to demand more from citizens and from government leaders.  Children made the difference and we think that’s KID POWER worth celebrating on this special day in history!

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