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Mother's 1963. Birmingham testament of nonviolence part three. At peace in Birmingham. You want to feel right down here. We haven't had any hair missing from the war and they had a kind of rioting. Gave me a magazine to write just a day on mother's day began with an orgy of violence the rioting touched off by the bombing of the Reverend A.D. King's home and a dynamite explosion at the Gaston Motel headquarters of the Birmingham movement and when the
violence finally had been checked Birmingham found itself shocked angry fearful and charged with still greater tensions than before. During this program you will hear leaders of the Birmingham movement including the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and the Reverend Rafferty Abernathy Mrs. A.G. Gaston introducing Miss Dorothy Height associate director for training. You see a national board statements by prominent Birmingham clergyman and the reaction of Birmingham citizens to this violence marred Mother's Day. Says your mother give her what you've been doing on Mother's Day. We just got back from church this Mother's Day mean to you. I mean shall I just shut my church and I love her. Shall I tell you it was Mother's Day mean to you his mother.
Well that's a big question he's. Really trying to try to give that money. But what your views on mothers with my mother. I was at home. Did you worry about what your mother was going to think when you want to go into town. Not about her but you're back out on Mother's Day. And it was a special Mother's Day.
But your daughter did especially for her. She went to do the right thing.
They were taken out of the school grounds. Then they must land. So sad people that came in here and took Now Little colored children that will go into school let them all. We really didn't know what had happened. College i ever since it's been gone now and I come in around 6:30 Oh. FLATOW Six o'clock and go to big called my white people did I wait for the day I mean man are you not in it. You know your hood well known he see and say yo Alicia get in your house and yet you don't preach. That's what I've been down I haven't come in and that is in no way. Well you're not taking an active part in the thing how do you feel about the movement. Well Iraqis don't say no no and I say well you former you know I know I don't got no I'm not able to get out there
in it. And so I was just thankful that the law would head latest me to get their say jammin to me so I did come on Ingleby you rather be in bed. Yeah I've been out there all day. I rather be in a being that down the street because IMO lacking good acting if you are young person you think you feel. Oh well I don't know what you young people think about it forever they talk about it as they beingness but the whole I'm sick and I'm sick and my right people did I wait for down to the good years with me and they call me just wow go on bring me some Tito hand I told him No so don't try to come in here cause I wouldn't think they were living in a body me. So she asked me did I have some money to get me something. Tell us why would you want to
have a lot more news coming from you haven't from mommy. It is just not the money as he had said and I want to see when I got back home and it's been rough you know. Don't try to go out no way cause I went. So when I go to church as a.
Brother she's still fresh to Buddhism no talking here. The minister did say something and I say everybody in prayer and I think that's right. In Birmingham churches that Mother's Day Service is this Sunday leading clergyman offer special prayers and statements to their congregations. The Reverend Franklin minister of the First Methodist Church sums up the concern of the clergy over the troubled Birmingham situation.
Ministers have been greatly concerned about our situation. They have realised that it is very necessary for us to work together. And they have been talking to their people about a better climate in our community. Some of our ministers would be classified as more moderate than others. They would not totally agree on the approach to this problem and yet in spirit they have pretty much together. They all feel that the Christian basis is the only basis whereby I mean can live together that violence and hatred and misunderstanding do not offer us the answer. And I ministers when they meet they talk about a better relationship a better climate and a better. Set up communication with Negra brother. Very definitely I do see a change of the masses of people the people on the streets the people in the home
the people in the Church are all unhappy about the things which have happened to us. They are unhappy about the demonstrations they feel that violation of law is not a good way to get your problem before the people then happy about radical whites who do extreme things too. And now our people who are law abiding people are beginning to realize that we must face these things and they are talking about them and they are discussing them and they are praying about them. And I think out of this comes good. The danger to me always when people wont talk but when they are told you're getting somewhere and the people are discussing these things. They don't always agree but they are not disagreeing with violent tempers and emotional tantrums they are talking quietly about what we must do and what we have done I haven't done and prayer is is very definitely in this picture people praying
in their churches discussing this. I frankly think. At Birmingham's Southside church one of the city's oldest churches the Reverend Lamar Jackson offers a pastoral prayer. With great hope. We had laid down I bought is false. And was stark tragic day we have been stabbed to wake this morning. The beauty of Mother's Day has been smeared with us and we all most to this day. Well Vall who art a bald man and in the Senate look on the colossal distal order and stage show him that he should be an instrument of the
IP. Save patterns from planting in the hearts of little children created except against evil. Did live a parents and grandparents from approving acts which are short sighted and will surely reap a. Bad rap and to give strength patient wisdom to all who seek to live happy with their neighbors according to law according to Grace. We pray also for men in places over thought that they may exercise with justice that respond to billet. We pray for the unknowing and excitable who are also led away from his to the highs and Bess.
They have known and we pray for the Perplexed baffled victims of circumstance and each base by which strain and stress may become tolerable. And that as is our Christian duty Lord we some one grazed by which to pray flawed to me and that they may see the their way. We would humble the floor of the lot and ask that we may in good conscience seek. And follow that in that Sunday night services at the Western Baptist Church. Its pastor the Reverend Burkett read a statement to the congregation in light of the unrest among our people.
What better statement could be made at this time than that of Jesus when He said Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You. This should be applied by both white and colored. This is no time for name calling or rock throwing or bomb tossing. This is a time when all God loving Christ honoring people need to go to their knees in prayer. Whether white or colored we cannot depend upon the selfish desires of men but upon the will of our great God. I personally pray that we will do everything in our power as individuals to remove hatred and violence from the Birmingham scene and that the love of Christ will reign in our hearts. God's call is to prayer and Christian action at Birmingham's independent Presbyterian Church at the morning worship service on Mother's Day. The congregation has finished singing a hymn. For the beauty. And the last lines of this hymn are brother sister
parent child friends on earth and friends above for all gentle thoughts and mild lot of all to see we raise this our hymn of grateful praise. And the pastor of this church the Reverend Dr. John de Lukens. Offers a message to the congregation before the morning sermon. We do thank God for our homes this morning and for our city and all the blessings of life we have been enjoying here together. Now today we are especially grateful for the peace and safety that have been maintained in a very difficult situation. We feel that our community should expand and express its heartfelt gratitude to Sheriff Melvin Bailey and to Police Chief Jamie Mora and to all the brave men who have served with them for their restraint and good judgment
in maintaining the peace and of this community. We condemn hot headed and hate food violence which does only Homme and not good. We hope and pray that all our citizens will preserve a calm mind so that no rash act may cause injury to our fellows and to our city. We are familiar with rain storms and with tornadoes. We are in a human storm now may it not become a tornado. After a good rain things fresh and strong and there is a search of beautiful grows with new life after a tornado there is a ruined disaster death and sorrow. Let us conduct ourselves now that after this storm there may be health and strength and growth not devastation and sorrow. May know congregations in our city be
torn apart by any rash statements and actions no members no minister has injured as some are being threatened. That not one of God's children be hurt. In the future after the storm is over we will be thanking God again for the beauty of the earth and for our homes. Beautiful city and all the Pless things of life which we have been enjoying here together with I hope increased freshness and beauty and strength and grows. To this end we are all Christian people to use utmost care to do justly to honor the right to love and obey God and to love and serve his children. If we do these things we shall come for us into that say a future which is according to.
The Reverend h Frank Ledford minister of the West Woodlawn Methodist Church speaks to his congregation. I feel that I must make a statement this morning in the light of what's happened in our city in the last few hours. This is a personal statement the way I feel and I've written it out so that I will not be the best quote it. This is the statement. Let us think of our beloved city this Mother's Day Nineteen sixty three. May 12 our nation has become great because we have had here strictly to the principle of law and order administered by duly constituted officers empowered to administer it. Whenever any individual or group of individuals set themselves up as a jury and judge outside of our legal processes be they black or white or any other color they are anti-American and to
question they must be treated as enemies of our society and all means of apprehension must be used to bring them to justice. Therefore a duly constituted court of law in the past 39 days when our city has been sorely tried by those who violated one of our bona fide statutes. I do look constituted law enforcement personnel have conducted themselves to an admirable degree within the letter and spirit of the principles mentioned of the world. We praise them for this. This morning we learned that some persons have proceeded to administer what they might consider in their distorted anti-American anti-Christian minds a kind of revenge for retaliation for the many breaches of of the peace by certain persons of our city and outsiders. This cannot be tolerated. My plea
to you not a lot of people is that you will not be caught up in this a bomb the blaze Senso frame of mind. We have competently good men and forcing all our own. Let them continue their excellent work. If anyone even hints to you vigilantism in any fashion meatless state your faith and confidence in officers and their abilities and your belief that the American way of the law and order is the only way. Again Dr. Denson Franklin from his Mother's Day sermon at the First Methodist Church. In these trying days in our city we need big men and not emotionally immature people. We need men who are big and they're thinking big in their vision big in their concepts of
humanity. This is no day for little thinkers. This is no time for 10th rooms. We need men who can stand like a giant tree in the storm and give confidence. Balance and faith to those about them. God gave us big men to help meet the test of the hour of crisis in our city we have had problems this is true. We have been behind in facing up to our racial problems. We have not had proper communication. We have bared our head in the sand and thought this thing would pass by and we'd come out to a better day when we'd all be together without misunderstanding and without strain and without tension. We should have known of course that it doesn't come this way. At the present time I feel we are on the right road. We have established communications. We are talking to each other and listening to each other. We know we have a wonderful city and a wonderful
people. We know that our Negra people and our white people by and large love each other and that the personal relationship is very good between so many of our people. We think now on a community basis and on the city level of the community level we announce stablish ing the proper communications whereby. We can solve our problems and live together in peace and in good will. On the other side of Birmingham at the new Pilgrim Baptist Church Sunday evening a special Mother's Day service and mass rally with leaders of the National Council of Negro Women attending a special guest. Preliminary comments by the Reverend this rowdy Evan Nathi and Andrew Young believe their time and now some very distinguished Negril ladies from all over the country.
This latest comes from a song. Next time I want us to give them a standing ovation. They just some of the most distinguished Negroni and and they come to them and hand out they call. Friends I think it's quite appropriate that we receive this group Sunday afternoon for several reasons. One is because I come from the National Council of Negro Women. And you know that for many many years it's been women who inspire their children. It's been women who have prayed for their children and their husbands and led them on into such courageous as we've been in here in Birmingham. But I think especially and we're glad to have them on Mother's Day because they bring a message of
prayer and warmth from women around America. I'd like to present one of our own distinguished women who will introduce the leader of this group. I don't think we need to introduce a guest and just let her know that we're glad to have you here ill. Thank you so very much. I don't think that I need to introduce to places that will speak to you this evening because I'm so sure that you've done what I did you see a work all over America. And this person has worked on tower only and out of the sea in a word I thought I could work. I thought I could keep laid out and I thought I could put in many I was during the day or when I met Dr. Height I found that I couldn't words I couldn't put in long hours because she works on
toweringly she gives up house ole tool call. She gives us so willingly and she doesn't. She not only works with regard to the CIA of America that we train young people to grow to be fine young people and to do what she wants with women she comes to us today representing the women of America from every walk of life. She represent the National Council of Negro Women and all of the leading on this nations of America representing women are part of this organization and the wedding was that Mrs. book some years ago. And we're trying to reach. And we're trying to stay we're trying to in every capacity dargah has come to us this afternoon representing eight hundred thousand women of Alabama of every
state and she brings a message not only from House on many committees closely related to the president of the United States of America and she will tell you I'm literally I'm very happy to present her because I'm so sure that she will give us a call to care about all of the conditions and this index that are going to it. You are here representing
Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence
Episode Number
Part 3
Mother's Day, 1963 [1 of 2]
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
A documentary recorded in Birmingham, Alabama, Mother's Day, May 12, 1963. The previous night, the parsonage of A. D. King was bombed, as was the Gaston Motel, where King's brother, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and a leader of the Birmingham movement, had been staying. Extensive rioting followed. The documentary includes commentary from various unnamed persons in Birmingham, including girls who participated in demonstrations and were arrested, and their mothers. The program also presents sermons by Birmingham clergy, Rev. Denson Franklin, Rev. Lamar Jackson, Rev. W. G. Burkett, Rev. John D. Lukens, and Rev. H. Frank Letford. At a gathering held at the New Pilgrim Baptist Church, Rev. Andrew Young from SCLC introduces a delegation from National Council of Negro Women visiting for Mother's Day. Mrs. A. G. Gaston introduces Dorothy Height of the National Board of the YWCA, who discusses the contributions of women to the movement. Speeches by Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. follow. King emphasizes the importance of nonviolence as a response to the violent actions of the previous day and relates achievements of the nonviolent sit-in movement that had resulted in the desegregation of 210 southern cities. The series was produced by Riverside Radio, WRVR, the FM station of the Riverside Church, New York City, for the Educational Radio Network and the National Association of Educational Broadcasters. It was distributed by the National Association of Radio Broadcasters Network. New York Times critic Jack Gould called the series "a first-class journalistic coup [that] constituted a remarkable social document for the ear." For information on the Birmingham movement, see Glenn T. Eskew, But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997).
Broadcast Date
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
African Americans--Civil rights--History
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: Summerfield, Jack
: Nixon, Walter
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station: New York, N.Y.)
Speaker: Abernathy, Ralph David, 1926-1990
Speaker: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: cpb-aacip-4aa14f8f81a (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:50
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Chicago: “Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence; Part 3; Mother's Day, 1963 [1 of 2],” 1963-05-12, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 1, 2022,
MLA: “Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence; Part 3; Mother's Day, 1963 [1 of 2].” 1963-05-12. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 1, 2022. <>.
APA: Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence; Part 3; Mother's Day, 1963 [1 of 2]. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from