Smithsonian Affiliate Museum
520 Sixteenth Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203
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The mission of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) is to promote civil and human rights worldwide through education. Opened in 1992, BCRI presents an in-depth look at the Civil Rights Movement through time, from before the movement's inception through today’s international struggle for universal human rights. BCRI is more than just a museum; it is a place of research, a teaching facility and an acknowledged learning center for people of all ages and backgrounds. Each year, BCRI reaches more than 140,000 individuals through teacher education (including curriculum development and teacher training); group tours; outreach programs (school and community); award-winning after-school programs and public programs (in a variety of formats including language and reading readiness, family literacy,) exhibitions and extensive archival collections. Call 888-328-9696 or www.bcri.org for more information.
"Marching On: The Children's Crusade @50" In May of 1963, thousands of Birmingham schoolchildren flooded the city's streets — and the city's jails— to challenge segregation. With dogs and fire hoses, public safety officials tried to stop them. Yet, in ways their parents could not, the children prevailed, defying the police intimidation that long had plagued Birmingham's African American community. This act of civil disobedience came to be known as the Children's March of 1963. The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute will highlight this pivotal campaign with a major exhibition sponsored by Birmingham Coca-Cola called “Marching On: The Children’s Crusade @ 50” on March 12-November 30 in the Odessa Woolfolk Gallery.
Drawing from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Oral History Project collection and other archival sources, “Marching On” tells the story of the seminal event of the Birmingham Movement, the Children's Crusade. Displayed through the words and actions of the youth activists who made it happen, the exhibition will illuminate why and how children became involved in the movement to how their participation became a major factor in the success of the Birmingham campaign.
“The exhibition is set up so that visitors can experience some of what it was like to be a young African American in segregated Birmingham,” stated Ahmad Ward, Head of Education and Exhibitions for BCRI. “Visitors will see how African Americans faced a system of discrimination that pervaded nearly every aspect of life; they were denied their constitutional right to vote, encountered discrimination in housing and employment, and were refused access to public spaces and facilities—and yet they refused to give up. The Children’s March brought a new impetus to the movement,” noted Ward, “and provided momentum for the March on Washington and helped pave the way for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
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