Movie Reflection: The Children's March

Category: , By Christian
The Civil Rights Movement does not get enough run in schools. The very fact that I had never heard of the Children's March is proof enough of that sad fact. It's a good thing I saw a clip from a documentary about the subject that prompted me to chase it down and watch it. I'm glad I did.

The Children's March took place in Birmingham, AL in 1963. As the story goes, Birmingham was one of the most oppressive cities in America. However, the adults in the city were afraid to really speak out against the oppression for fear of losing their jobs. The kids in the town didn't have such concerns however, so they organized a huge march to protest their oppression. It was a created protest. It was a measured protest. It was brave, and it was meant to go to great lengths. In the sense that it changed the game, it worked. In the sense that it was totally nonviolent? Not so much. At least not for a sustained period of time. The March achieved that goal the first day, but was later beat into submission by the Birmingham authorities.

You know those images you see during Black History Month of people getting sprayed with hoses and attacked by police dogs? That was Birmingham. I have to admit that seeing those images in motion was slightly shocking and made my heart sad that people had to endure such hardships in this country. It was also appalling to hear racist venom coming from the mouths of elected officials, but such was the social situation at that dark point in our history.

In the end, the kids accomplished a lot. It was those revolting pictures that helped prod President Kennedy to speak out. It was that turnaround that helped lift Dr King's spirits as up to that point he was feeling frustrated and a little burnt out. And it showed what kids are capable of. Let's just hope we don't put kids in a situation where they have to prove themselves like that again.

Fair Dinkum

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