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🚨Riots in Birmingham Follow Bombings of Negro Motel and Home of MLK’s Brother

May 12, 1963 - The bombings of a Negro motel and an integration leader’s home (pictured top) touched off widespread rioting on the edge of Birmingham’s business district early today. Angered by the attacks, thousands of Negroes poured into the streets and engaged the police, firemen, Alabama state highway patrolmen, and Jefferson County deputy sheriffs in a running battle that raged through five blocks. One policeman was stabbed in the back, at least three others were struck by missiles, and an undetermined number of Negroes were injured. As of 3:30 a.m., the rioting was still going on and growing in intensity. The first explosion rocked the home of Rev. A.D. King, a leader in the desegregation drive in Birmingham and the younger brother of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Pictured bottom, A.D. King tries to calm a crowd after the bombing.) The second of last night’s blasts struck minutes later at the A.G. Gaston Motel, half a block away from Kelly Ingraham Park, scene of last Tuesday’s rioting. The bombings and the riot followed by only one day announcement of an agreement between white and Negro leaders on a limited desegregation plan for Birmingham. The riot grew in intensity as it raged on into the night, becoming one of the worst racial explosions seen in the South in years. Showers of gravel, bottles, rocks, and bricks struck police cruisers and patrol wagons in the area. “They started it!” the Negroes shouted.


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