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Violence Erupts in Birmingham

Apr. 14, 1963 - Negroes protesting the arrest of leaders of an attempted march in Birmingham, Alabama hurled rocks at policemen today. Several Negroes were clubbed as the police tried to hold in check a crowd of about 2,000. It was the most serious incident since the beginning of a direct-action campaign against segregation that began 12 days ago. The outbreak took place in the center of a large Negro district. It began when a line of marchers, led by the Rev. A.E. King, exited a church and started in the general direction of the South Side jail. The Reverend’s brother, Dr. Martin Luther King, has been held there since Friday. The marchers were ultimately intercepted by police. Thirty-two persons were arrested. There was a delay in the arrival of patrol wagons, which permitted hundreds of Negroes who had been gathered near the church to reach the scene. Angry shouts arose from the crowd, but it was not until the patrol wagons had driven away with prisoners that rocks were hurled. A Negro woman was pulled out of the crowd by a policeman. She began screaming as she was carried toward a patrol car. Then came a barrage of rocks. No policeman seemed to have been hit, but a large rock shattered the windshield of a police motorcycle. As police moved toward the rock-throwers, a young Negro started running across the street. He was caught, clubbed to the ground, and held there by several officers. The force of about 50 officers, most on foot, had difficulty restraining the crowds, which jammed the sidewalks and spilled into the street.

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