1963: Birmingham's aggression against African-Americans televised
By the spring of 1963, the calls for equal rights were growing louder and louder, and in the decidedly southern city of Birmingham, Ala., those protests quickly turned violent.
Martin Luther King Jr. personally considered Birmingham to be one of the most segregated cities in America, with incredible discrepancies in employment, income and opportunity in general. Over a 17-year period, the city was hit with dozens of race-fueled bomb attacks.
But in 1963, the city’s black population finally rose up, but were treated with humiliation and brutality from every angle. Black residents held sit-ins at segregated churches, diners and libraries, leading to their arrest.
Finally, as spring turned to summer, the authorities became more aggressive. As thousands of students marched through the streets, authorities turned water cannons and police dogs onto the crowd.
The images of the savage treatment of the black marchers were broadcast to a nationwide audience, only serving to anger millions about the continuing state of race relations in the South.
Their tactics worked, though. On May 8, after the city sat paralyzed for days, the city’s white leaders began desegregating numerous businesses and services.
Photo: Firefighters turn their hoses full force on civil rights demonstrators July 15, 1963 in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Bill Hudson)