Negro protest march directed at churches

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., April 14, 1963 (UPI) -- Police broke up an anti-segregation protest march by 1,500 Negroes on a sunny Easter Sunday that saw Negroes attend services at two white churches. But Negroes were turned away at a number of other white churches and 30 of the demonstrators who tried to stage the Easter march were arrested and a few bodily carried to waiting patrol wagons.

A Negro hurled a rock through a motorcycle during the height of the disturbance. He was chased down by a police officer and knocked to the ground by a blow from a billie club.


The demonstrations marked the 12th day of racial activity in the southern steel city in which more than 200 Negroes have been arrested, including integration leader Martin Luther King.

The demonstrations came a few hours after small groups of Negro youngsters, dressed in neat Easter outfits, attended services at the First Baptist and First Presbyterian churches. But others were turned away at the Sixth Avenue Presbyterian, the Central Church of Christ and the First Christian Church.

The Church of the Advent reserved five pews for Negroes but none appeared.

Rev. Andrew Young, a staff member of King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, led a group of five who peacefully attended the large First Baptist Church.


They were met at the door by an usher who informed them that "we have a place reserved for you."

Two young Negro girls sat in the front row of the packed First Presbyterian Church.

At other churches, ushers politely directed the Negroes to churches for their own race.

Rev. A. D. King, brother of Martin Luther King, and Rev. John Porter led the afternoon protest march on downtown Birmingham from the Thurgood A. M. E. Church.

The procession -- singing "We Shall Overcome" -- overflowed into the streets and solidly packed an entire block.

Police and highway patrolmen set up a roadblock to halt the crowd. King, however, took a quick turn across a yard and he and hundreds of Negroes trailing him turned into a narrow alley.

Two motorcycle policemen wheeled into the front of the column, dismounted and grabbed King by the arm.

After the arrest of King and Porter, police ordered the crowd to break up and the Negroes drifted back into the Negro section of the city.

Two newsmen, Roger Sharpe of the ABC network and Foster Haley of the New York Times, were ordered out of the streets by police as they took notes of the incidents.


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