civil rights movement 1963


August 28th 1963: March on Washington

On this day in 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place. The march was a key moment of the Civil Rights Movement, and a triumph for the nonviolence philosophy which underpinned the movement. The march is best remembered for Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, given in front of the Lincoln Memorial, which extolled King’s vision of an America free of racial discrimination. Other speakers included chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee John Lewis and veteran civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph. When politicians in Washington heard about the march many, including President John F. Kennedy, feared that there would be violence and rioting. The peaceful gathering of over 250,000 supporters of civil rights, with many whites in attendance as well as African-Americans, highlighted issues of racial discrimination and unequal housing and employment. The demonstration in the nation’s capital, and King’s speech in particular, spurred America into action and paved the way for the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act, vital tools in the fight for racial equality.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’…
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Malcolm X was born today in 1925. Gordon Parks captured this image of him addressing the crowd at a Harlem rally in 1963. The photograph is on view now in From the Collection: 1960–1969

[Gordon Parks. Malcolm X Gives Speech at Rally, Harlem, New York. 1963. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2016 Gordon Parks Foundation]

While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement

Carolyn Maull McKinstry

On September 15, 1963

A Klan-planted bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull was just a few feet away when the bomb exploded, killing four of her friends [Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Carol Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14)] in the girl’s restroom she had just exited. It was one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement, a sad day in American history … and the turning point in a young girl’s life.

While the World Watched is a poignant and gripping eyewitness account of life in the Jim Crow South: from the bombings, riots, and assassinations to the historic marches and triumphs that characterized the Civil Rights movement.


June 11th 1963: The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door

On this day in 1963, segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace stood at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to prevent two black students (Vivian Malone and James Hood) from attending. Around the United States, following the Supreme Court declaring school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), schools were being desegregated. Wallace became well-known nationwide for his opposition to desegregation, famously declaring in his inaugural speech “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. As Wallace stood in the door, he was confronted by Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach who, when Wallace refused to move, called President John F. Kennedy who federalised the Alabama National Guard. General Henry Graham of the National Guard then asked him to step aside on the President’s orders, which Wallace reluctantly did, thus allowing Malone and Hood to register.



Malcolm X: Our History Was Destroyed By Slavery 

on March 17, 1963 in Chicago.

this motherfucking white asshole right in his face after hearing that names given to black people were done as a way of marking them as property and as an act of cruel slavery calls said name a “gift?!” smfh.

shit like this is why i never get on a black person for hating white people. smfh.