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The legacy of the 1963 Children’s Crusade

The legacy of the 1963 Children’s Crusade

Update: 2021-05-03
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The key role children played in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and why it matters today. 

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Janice Wesley Kelsey was 16 when she faced White police officers in the Children’s Crusade of 1963 in Birmingham, Ala. The Black youths ages 7 to 17, marching peacefully in the name of civil rights, were met with billy clubs, German shepherds and fire hoses. 

News crews flocked to the place nicknamed “Bombingham,” and the footage helped prompt President John F. Kennedy to urge Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

On the 58th anniversary of the Children’s Crusade, Post Reports producer Jordan-Marie Smith reports on the impact of the march and how its tactics are reflected in the modern civil rights movement.

You can find more resources on the Children’s Crusade at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, at the National Civil Rights Museum and in the archives at Alabama Public Radio.
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The legacy of the 1963 Children’s Crusade

The legacy of the 1963 Children’s Crusade

The Washington Post