Children's Crusade (1963)

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The Children's Crusade was a march by hundreds of school students in Birmingham, Alabama, May 2–5, 1963, during the Civil Rights Movement's Birmingham campaign. Initiated and organized by Rev. James Bevel, the purpose of the march was to walk downtown to talk to the mayor about segregation in their city. Many children left their schools and were arrested, set free, and then arrested again the next day. The marches were stopped by the head of police, Bull Connor, who brought fire hoses to ward off the children, and set police dogs after the children. This event compelled President John F. Kennedy to publicly support federal civil rights legislation, and eventually led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Malcolm X was opposed to the event because he thought it would expose the children to violence. He said: "Real men don't put their children on the firing line".[1]

See also[edit]


  • Clayborne Carson, ed., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., (New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc., 1998)
  • M. S. Handler, "Malcolm X Terms Dr. King’s Tactics Futile," New York Times, May 11, 1963
Folk music


Further reading[edit]