Bull Connor

Bull Connor

Bull Connor

Bull Connor

Excerpt

When Martin Luther King, Jr., brought his civil rights demonstrations to Birmingham, Alabama, during the spring of 1963, he sought a confrontation that would dramatize his efforts to break down the walls of segregation in America. King came to Birmingham in frustration, mindful that his most recent antisegregation campaign--in Albany, Georgia--had produced only modest results. Some called the Albany campaign a failure; King himself admitted that mistakes had been made and that the effort could be best described as a learning experience.

King had vaulted into the public eye by leading a successful 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, chipping away at segregation's ramparts in the Cradle of the Confederacy. By the start of the Albany campaign in 1961, he had become the nationally acknowledged leader of the civil rights movement. The movement leaders chose to attack all vestiges of segregation in Albany, rather than concentrating on one or two such as bus segregation or the all-white police force. The result was an incohesive, uncoordinated effort that prompted one observer, movement veteran Ruby Hurley, to remark, "Albany was successful only if the goal was to go to jail." King's biographer David L. Lewis asserts that blacks demanded the wrong things at the wrong time in Albany "because there was too little coordination, trust, and harmony within the Movement."

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