WSB-TV newsfilm clip of John F. Kennedy speaking at a press conference about civil rights demonstrations and the federal government's support and protection in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963 May 12
@ Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection
WSB-TV (Television station : Atlanta, Ga.)
DescriptionIn this WSB newsfilm clip from a news conference on May 12, 1963 President John F. Kennedy urges Birmingham, Alabama residents to practice nonviolence and pledges the federal government's support and protection; he later asks Birmingham citizens to recognize and support the agreement reached by negotiators on May 10 that, to that point, had appeased civil demonstrations. He advises the public "to realize that violence only breeds more violence" and warns "there must be no repetition of last night's incidents by any group." President Kennedy emphasizes the government's role "to preserve order, to protect the lives of its citizens, and to uphold the law of the land," and condemns those who "would replace conciliation and good will with violence and hate." After mass civil rights demonstrations led by the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in April and May of 1963, black and white negotiators reached an accord on May 10 that ended demonstrations. On May 11, the A.G. Gaston Motel and the home of Dr. Martin Luther King's brother, Reverend A. D. King, were both bombed. King and other SCLC leaders frequented the Gaston Motel when in Birmingham; businessman A. G. Gaston often provided them with complimentary office space. The bombings sparked riots by African Americans in a twenty-eight-block section of Birmingham. Local police officers and state troopers responding to the crisis beat rioters and bystanders, injuring over fifty people. In response to the violence, Kennedy issued the aforementioned statement, readied...