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Birmingham Mayor: “Arrest and Punish All Agitators”

May 12, 1963 - Albert Boutwell, Birmingham’s Mayor-elect, whose authority has been challenged in the courts by the current three-member City Commission of the Alabama city, issued a statement today condemning both last night’s bombings and the subsequent rioting. “I want to make it plain to the hoodlums that this city will not tolerate violence, especially the dastardly hit-and-run bombers who wreak vengeance without regard for life and property,” Mr. Boutwell declared. “I am sure that the City Council joins me in a determination to arrest and punish all agitators of violence, regardless of race.” Mayor Arthur J. Hanes, head of the City Commission voted out in a recent election but still holding office during litigation over control of the city government, took a different tone. “Martin Luther King is a revolutionary,” declared Mr. Hanes. “The n****r King ought to be investigated by the Attorney General. This n****r has got the blessing of the Attorney General and the White House.” Regarding Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Mayor Hanes stated: “I hope that every drop of blood that’s spilled he tastes in his throat — and I hope he chokes on it.”


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