Birmingham and the Ferguson Riots

What was the Birmingham Riots?

From May 2nd to May 10th, 1963 in Birmingham Alabama, the city was filled with social injustice for colored people living in the area. Wanting change they started a protest to be treated the same as the white people. This protest was soon turned into a riot which is also known today as the Birmingham Riots.

Many public places excluded colored people such as restaurants movie theaters, and schools while colored people were only allowed to go to separate places from white people.

What was the Goal?

Many people of the city wanted to end segregation by protesting for black people to be given the equal treatment they deserved.

Who Was Involved?

There were some very important people had involvement during the riots. Some people involved were the black protestors wanting equality and the white police officers rioting against them. Some famous people include Martin Luther King Jr. had a impact in this by publicly speaking about his views on the situation as well as well as by sending children ages 6 - 18 to protest. Some other individuals who impacted the riots was Birmingham police chief Bull Connor and the mayer of Birmingham Art Hanes. Both of them were openly racist and did everything that they could in their power to harm black protesters and stop segregation from ending.

Police Chief Bull Connor standing in front of other police officers of Birmingham.

What Obstacles Did the Protesters Have to Overcome?

Black protestors were beaten up by being fire hosed and attacked by attack dogs sent out by Bull Connor. He also sent the other police officers to beat up the black protestors as well. Himself and Art Hanes even went as far as jailing innocent protestors. Fortunately these riots that were caused by police brutality were aired on tv which gained attention by the media. This attention caused the city of Birmingham to be persuaded to finally make a settlement which would remove the whites only drinking and restroom signs and also have businesses hire more African Americans. (Pictured in the background you can see Mayor Art Hanes standing in front of the city refusing to give in to the protestors.)

How Did the Birmingham Riots Impact Life Today?

The riots caught the attention of many people interest including then President Lyndon Johnson. Because of this he created the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which would ban treating people differently because of their race or personal beliefs. Because of this African Americans began attending schools with white people as well as other different ethnicities began working together. People of all races still go to work and school and interact together in todays world.

How are the Ferguson Riots Like the Riots in Birmingham?

On August 9th, 2014 in Ferguson Missouri African American teenager Micheal Brown was shot by a white police officer. The town decided to not press charges on the police officer which then caused protests against police brutality which soon escalated to riots. These protestors turned rioters had torn up the city by doing things such as randomly firing shots, looting, and smashing windows. This event inspired to push the movement of black lives matter, a movement to focus on the importance of the lives of the African American people. The riots in Ferguson can be compared to the riots in Birmingham in several ways. For instance both riots were focused on people wanting social justice for the African American community. The police were also heavily involved just like the riots in Birmingham but in contrast were not intentionally trying to harm rioters unless it was necessary. Many of the people in Ferguson also tried to challenge the police officers in the city during the riots in hopes to stop police brutality towards African Americans from happening similar to Birmingham where many of the protestors tried to ignore the police because they didn't agree with what the police thought was right.

Police officers in Ferguson trying to stop the riots in the city.

Works Cited:

(2014, November 25th). BBC. Retrieved from

Siemaszko (2012, May 5th). New York Daily News. Retrieved from


Created with images by World Can't Wait - "2014-8-14-TimesSquareBTW"

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