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New Mayor of Birmingham Praises Law Enforcement

May 3, 1963 - Albert Boutwell (left with Governor George Wallace), the newly elected mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, praised the white population and law enforcement officials for showing “restraint” so far amidst the boiling racial tensions in that city. But he said the city is now faced “with a situation of possible danger.” He called on all Birmingham residents to take steps to ease the tension. The Mayor was particularly critical of the use of students in the anti-segregation demonstrations yesterday. “Whatever our sympathies and loyalties have been in the past, whatever they may be in the future, I cannot condone and you cannot condone the use of children to these ends,” he said. “I do not need to emphasize the difference between demonstrations by adults and the terrible danger of involving immature teenagers and younger children.” Judge Talbot Ellis of juvenile court was also critical of their use. He said he had booked 319 children under the age of 18 yesterday, one of them a girl 8 years old. Judge Ellis said that customarily he did not “fine kids for delinquency.” But he said he would be severe with any of those brought before him who had previous records in his court. Commenting on the 8-year-old girl, he said: “That’s what makes my blood boil.” Most of those arrested yesterday were reported still in the juvenile detention home or in the county jail.


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