In the spring of 1963, Birmingham, Alabama, was the "do-or-die" battleground for the Civil Rights Movement. "What are we going to do?" Martin Luther King asked his friends. He was worried; it looked like they were going to fail in their mission. Martin Luther King was trying to lead the black people in Birmingham in a struggle to end segregation. In King's day, segregation meant that black people were not allowed to do the same things or go to the same places as white people: Black people couldn't go to most amusement parks, swimming pools, parks, hotels, or restaurants. They had to go to different schools that weren't as nice as the schools for white kids. They had to use separate drinking fountains, and they could get in big trouble for drinking out of fountains marked for white people. They weren't allowed to use the same bathrooms; many times, there was no bathroom at all that they could use. They weren't allowed to try on clothes before they bought them. Black people didn't think that was fair; there were white people who agreed with them. But in many, many places, especially in the southern part of the United States, segregation was the law--and if black people tried to go someplace they weren't supposed to go, they could get arrested, beaten, and even killed. Many thousands of people were working in the 1950s and 1960s to end segregation. But one spring, Martin Luther King was in one of the largest and strictest segregated cities in the south--Birmingham, Alabama. There he could find only a few people who would help. At night they would have big meetings at a church; they would talk about segregation and ways to change things. Four hundred people would show up for the meeting, but only thirty-five or so would volunteer to protest; and not all of these volunteers would show up the next day for the protest march. Those who did would gather downtown, parade through the streets, carry signs, chant, and sing, sending the message that...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document