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Tentative Agreement Reached in Birmingham

May 8, 1963 - White and Negro negotiators reached a tentative agreement today on most major issues in the racial crisis in Birmingham, Ala. Mass demonstrations and “freedom marches” were suspended temporarily. However, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said tonight if a settlement had not been worked out by 11 a.m. tomorrow, Negroes would resume their marches. The Negroes are seeking the following:

1. Desegregation of lunch counters and other facilities in downtown stores.

2. Hiring and upgrading Negro employees in stores and industries.

3. Dropping all charges against demonstrators.

4. Appointment of a biracial committee which would set a timetable for desegregation of city schools, reopening parks and playgrounds closed after a Federal court ordered their desegregation and hiring of additional Negro city employees, including policemen.

The Atlanta minister was imprisoned briefly late this afternoon along with the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, his close colleague. The two men were jailed in lieu of $2,500 appeal bonds following their convictions in Recorder’s Court on charges of parading without a permit in a protest march in Birmingham. They drew penalties of 180 days in prison and $300 fines. A.G. Gaston, a local Negro financier, quickly posted bonds for their release.


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