Birmingham Killing

Published: 1963
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Hank Wilson: "Observers are still assessing the success of that march; but afterward, the press for civil-rights legislation through the Congress gained steam. But there were delays, and integrationists were in no mood to wait. In early September, riots again broke out in Birmingham. A prominent Negro attorney's home was bombed. A Federal Court ordered two white high schools and a grade school in Birmingham integrated. Governor Wallace again refused.

Governor George Wallace: "I shall continue to resist for you within the law and in keeping with the tradition … traditions of our section of the country. I shall continue our fight with dignity and integrity, as we have done in the past. I can tell you that I hope that … that God will bless all of the people of this State, both black and white."

Hank Wilson: "On September 10th, I was at West End High School in Birmingham as two Negro girls entered the school to register. City police did not stop them. But the registration of the girls sparked a massive boycott of the school by white students, hundreds of whom stood outside the school building chanting, 'Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate'"

Crowd: "Two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to integrate; two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate; two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to..."

Hank Wilson: "The boycott came to an end within a week, but the violence did not. On what began as a quiet Sunday morning, a bomb exploded in a Negro church in Birmingham, killing four young girls.

"The bombing led to meetings at the White House with both sides in the dispute. As autumn came and then winter, integrationists held fewer demonstrations. Shocked by the assassination of President Kennedy, who had championed their cause, integration leaders looked to the new President for leadership. And at year's end, though difficulties were many, it appeared that long-awaited legislation was in sight."