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🚨President Kennedy Activates Federal Troops in Alabama

🚨May 12, 1963 - President Kennedy tonight dispatched Federal troops to bases near Birmingham, Ala., for use if racial violence breaks out again. His action followed three hours of rioting early this morning in which fifty persons were injured. The rioting erupted after a Negro hotel and the home of Rev. A.D. King, the younger brother of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., were bombed. The President ordered all “necessary preliminary steps” be taken to call the Alabama National Guard into Federal service. The call can then be accomplished in minutes if the President decides it is needed. The President made known these emergency moves at the White House tonight. He appeared before the press and television cameras at 8:48 p.m. to read a grave statement on the Birmingham crisis. The President declared: “This Government will do whatever must be done to preserve order, to protect the lives of its citizens, and to uphold the law of the land. I am certain that the vast majority of the citizens of Birmingham, both white and Negro — particularly those who labored so hard to achieve the peaceful, constructive settlement of last week — can feel nothing but dismay at the efforts of those who would replace conciliation and good will with violence and hate.” Mr. Kennedy acted after conferring for three hours with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance, and other officials.


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