The Children’s Crusade: When the Youth of Birmingham Marched for Justice

The Children’s Crusade: When the Youth of Birmingham Marched for Justice

Towards the end of April 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fellow civil rights leaders were faced with a grim reality in Birmingham, Alabama. With less support and fewer volunteers, their campaign to end segregationist policies was faltering. But when an unorthodox plan to recruit black children to march was implemented, the movement reversed, reinvigorating the fight for racial equality, in what has come to be known as the Children’s Crusade. .

King had traveled to Birmingham in the spring of 1963, along with the co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Reverend Ralph Abernathy, in the hope of strengthening resistance against segregation in the state. The couple joined forces with the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, a local civil rights organization led by Fred Shuttlesworth, a prominent minister and activist.

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