“felt the bastions of segregation could be most securely maintained in Birmingham if national exposure could be avoided.”

Bull Connor had been issuing ominous statements about our forthcoming meeting*. When he realized that his threats were frightening no one, he began to try to intimidate the press by announcing that the press cards of any “outside reporters” would be taken away from them. It was clear that Connor felt the bastions of segregation could be most securely maintained in Birmingham if national exposure could be avoided.

*The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was preparing for their annual meeting, to be held in Birmingham, and discussing a public campaign against the segregation there.

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The ultimate tragedy of Birmingham was not the brutality of the bad people, but the silence of the good people.

Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can’t Wait, published 1964.

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