Birmingham was one of the most racially divided cities in the United States in the early 1960s. Martin Luther King Jr. called it the most segregated city in the country. The Birmingham campaign was a model of nonviolent direct action protest and, through the media, drew the world’s attention to racial segregation.
About Birmingham campaign in brief
Birmingham was one of the most racially divided cities in the United States in the early 1960s. Martin Luther King Jr. called it the most segregated city in the country. The Birmingham campaign was a model of nonviolent direct action protest and, through the media, drew the world’s attention to racial segregation in the South. It burnished King’s reputation, ousted Connor from his job, forced desegregation in Birmingham, and directly paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibited racial discrimination in hiring practices and public services throughout the U.S. Birmingham was the headquarters of the Southern Youth Congress. In 1949, Birmingham was forced out of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for not having enough black members. A few years later, Birmingham’s black population began to organize to change the effect of segregation on the black population. The city’s population of almost 350,000 was 60% white and 40% black, but Birmingham had no black police officers, firefighters, sales clerks in department stores, bus drivers, bank tellers, or store cashiers. Fifty unsolved racially motivated bombings between 1945 and 1962 had earned the city the nickname “Dynamite Hill” Birmingham. Black churches were discussed for specific attacks in which it was called “Bombingham” Black churches became specific targets for attack by the city’s white residents. In the early 1970s, the city was forced to ban the Black Colored Youth Congress, leaving a black population that had some experience of civil rights organizing behind.
The SNYC experienced both successes and failures, as well as arrests and official violence. In 1978, Birmingham banned the National Advancement Association, forcing black residents to organize their own civil rights movement. The Black Coloring Youth Congress was forced into exile in 1978. In 1982, the National NAACP banned the Negro Youth Congress from organizing civil rights activities in Birmingham. The National NAACP also banned the Black Youth Congress in 1978, leaving the city as the headquarters for the Negro National Youth Congress for about ten years. In 1984, the NAACP banned all civil rights activity in the city, forcing the city to resume its civil rights efforts. In 1989, the N.Y. State legislature passed a bill that would have banned the SNYC, but it was later repealed by the Alabama Supreme Court. In 1991, the state Supreme Court ruled that the ban was unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. In 1998, the Supreme Court upheld the right to free speech and the right of the black community to assemble in public places. In 2000, the Alabama State Supreme Court agreed to allow the Black Chamber of Commerce to hold a meeting to discuss civil rights issues. In 2002, the City of Birmingham passed a law that would allow the NAACP to hold meetings in public spaces that were open to all people of all races. In 2007, the Birmingham City Council passed a measure that would make it easier for businesses to hire and fire employees of any race, regardless of their ability to pay. The measure was passed.