Several months ago the affiliate here in Birmingham asked us to be on call to engage in a nonviolent direct-action program if such were deemed necessary.
High school students are hit by a high-pressure water jet from a firehose during one of the protests of the Birmingham campaign
This “nonviolent direct-action program” is better known as the Birmingham campaign, a strategic movement organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to bring attention to the unequal treatment that black Americans endured in Birmingham, Alabama, through a variety of nonviolent methods of confrontation, including sit-ins at libraries and lunch counters, kneel-ins by black visitors at white churches, and a march to the county building to mark the beginning of a voter-registration drive.
The SCLC’s goals were to fill the jails with protesters to force the city government to negotiate as demonstrations continued.
This image of Parker High School student Walter Gadsden being attacked by dogs was an iconic image of the Birmingham campaign, and was subsequently published in The New York Times on May 4, 1963.
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