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Integration Leader’s Home Bombed in Birmingham

Sept. 5, 1963 - A bomb rocked the home of an integration leader last night in Birmingham, Ala., following the peaceful registration of two Negro children in a previously all-white elementary school. In rioting that followed the explosion, one Negro was killed and at least 18 persons were injured. About eight of the injured were policemen. The home bombed was that of Arthur Shores, a Negro lawyer. It had already been heavily damaged in a bombing Aug. 15. Mr. Shores’ wife was jostled from her bed by last night’s explosion, but neither she, her husband, nor their 17-year-old daughter were injured. Within minutes, police patrol cars began to arrive, and residents of the middle-class Negro neighborhood rushed into the streets. Rocks and bottles were hurled at the policemen. Scores of patrol cars brought blue-helmeted policemen armed with riot guns and carbines. Patrols moved through the neighborhood, and shots resounded as the police drove residents indoors. In front of the Shores home, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, another integration leader, appealed to the crowd to disperse. Order was finally restored after two hours of sporadic clashes. James L. Coley, 20 years old, died of a bullet wound in the neck. There was no word on the origin of the fatal shot. At least two other Negroes suffered gunshot wounds. Governor Wallace termed the riot “very tragic.” “I am sorry the situation arose and resulted in violence,” he told reporters. The outbreak followed a victory for the integrationists yesterday, when Governor Wallace unexpectedly failed to interfere with the registration of the two Negro pupils.

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