50 years later, recalling the young ‘foot soldiers’ of the civil rights struggle

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In May 1963, thousands of Birmingham school children  faced police dogs, fire hoses and possible arrest to demonstrate against segregation. Photo courtesy Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

In May 1963, thousands of Birmingham school children faced police dogs, fire hoses and possible arrest to demonstrate against segregation. Photo courtesy Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) In May 1963, thousands of Birmingham school children faced police dogs, fire hoses and possible arrest to demonstrate against segregation. Now, 50 years later, those who were part of what became known as "the Children’s March'' say they don’t want their story to be forgotten.

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  • Harriette Williams

    I was a Foot Soldier. I was 17 years old and a student at Carver High School (collegeville). I walked off the school campus with the others students that left and to the meeting at 16th Street Baptist Church. After getting instructions for the march and the group, I was in and carrying a sign, we was arrested a block from the church. I went to the Dedention Center Court, City Jail, County Jail and then to Fair Park where I stayed for five (5) days until I was released to my Aunt and Uncle (my Guardians). It was an experience that I will never forget, but it was worthy especially for our children of today. And if I had to do it again, I would. I was interviewed in the late 90,s by Dr. Horace Huntley at the Civil Rights Institute about my experience when I march. I am looking forward to be a part of the 50 Year Celebrations.

  • JULIA HARDY

    Original foot soldier. 16 years old @ the time. walked from western and olin high school to 16th street with several hundred other students.we were taken to the five points west fairgrounds where we were placed in the animal stalls and searched. from there we were taken to jail where i spent a total of 5 days.

  • S. El-Mekki

    We are looking for as many 1st hand accounts of these times-we are trying to share the voices of children (50 yrs ago) with our children/students.

  • GLORIA GREENE

    I was a 19 yrs old student at Miles College in 1963 determined to be a part of what Martin Luther King was doing to make this world a better place for everyone, especially people of color. I attended civil rights meetings at my church, Tabernacle Baptist on Center St, participated in sit-ins, was arrested and taken to the soutside jail in a yellow school bus on the very first day of the ’63’ demonstration where I stayed in a large room with other demonstrators for 10 days. What I remembered the most was we never stopped singing the moving civil rights spiritual songs.