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A happy day in Birmingham. May 10th 1963 Birmingham testament of nonviolence part 1. And here is the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. I am very happy sad to be able to announce that we have come to date to the climax of the long struggle for justice freedom and human dignity in the city of Birmingham. I say the climax and not the end. Father we have come a long long way. That is still a strenuous path before us and some of it is yet on chart. Nevertheless it can now be said that after a great struggle this day is clearly the moment of the great victory the news that is true and
they have promised a great. Downtown in a restroom and a job and everything. Only two weeks for some 60 days a sum of 90 days is the claim is the time. Oh no I'm very proud of you I don't know but I'm glad it is oh you didn't want to see no happy with it. To the extent that it was successful as far as and when it was successful and very successful as far as the specific. Demands and goals of the. Movement was concerned but I don't think it's. Really significant I don't think what they received in the way of concessions with is really significant in themselves rather in. The implications that they might have. Yet. We all are proud to say that much. But they really have stopped it and I'm glad that I
mean this is all about them too. I have one daughter she's in jail. But I'm grateful that as this is all after all we all will be a benefit from that you know how the perps are going to see our one hour when I heard it was over the radio I was driving coming in from Leeds Alabama over here and now I was coming in on Thursday. And it came out of the radio and said this committee had made an agreement and that they were going to compromise with desegregation of lunch counters the fountains and. Also the restaurant. Well it upset me to have to give him our honest viewpoint I would. Take to that view too much because on my say I can hardly see.
A negro using the same restroom and I used not to act like that on our Mattie or better than he is not there. It's just a little matter of the clay in this in the mouth. Everyone knows the dog catcher committee is hopped up over that. They want to be truthful. I don't agree with some things because we have got to trust him. Here. I
am in a. Song. This is Walter looks and Jack Summerfield at the St. John Church. Me and some of them in Birmingham Alabama Friday night. They didn't even hear. Me. More than 2000 negroes are at this church. Overflowing the sanctuary and our families. The staircase is an hour on the sidewalk of 53. The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The Reverend Ralph the other growing great leaders are here tonight the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth head of the Alabama Christian movement for the mines is not here four hours ago used taken to Birmingham's
Holy Family Hospital. Here is. Dr. Ralph Abernathy. Care. I. Was. In my picture at night and you don't stand up. Back. When I. Went to pick through and I do not mean to read just for the Negro in Birmingham but I mean a victory if I Alabama. I mean a victory for the white man. I mean a victory for the United States of America. And I mean for the free world if Where.
Fish is. Fiction I'm not going to make a long speech tonight. I'm not going to take three minutes. And according to the cops and one half a minute. Since I've been up here tonight I don't have to prove and speak. This is coming in from Los Angeles California. Arrest. The dumb old we are God the. Son God the Son is the richest Negro and all said Jonas. Oh OK oh ok. No not all the Broadway Federal Nuccio known just so safe in Los Angeles to kind of pick a real nice
arresting K.. UK OH NO way from Los Angeles. Just see about us. Arrest. John King is in Los Angeles. I am in Los Angeles. John is always that way. He stays with us from the beginning to the end. He's on the national board of the end of last night they had a meeting with Roy Wilkins in India. And Mississippi. And he came out over here to Birmingham and when he got here was disappointed and discovered that he didn't have to go to jail. If I tell you why I don't speak what three minutes I know let him have one minute of that time.
About Dr. King and the wonderful people of Birmingham my people. I bring you greetings from California and I want to leave one word with you continue this fight. We must continue this fight until the war. And the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag means what it says when you tell me if. Have and when people tell you the time ain't right don't you tell them that when they call your bar your brother or your son or your husband to the army. Nobody told you the time wasn't right. Want to have
to have. And last April and in the form of the year when you were called upon to pay your taxes nobody ever said to you since you were a negro. It'll be 10 or 20 years books all the time is right to pay your tax. Or I have. You have. My boy died on the field of Naam a day. And many of you gave your sons our husbands brothers the coords of freedom. In my bar I could die for freedom. It is your duty to live for freedom for he is a Turk will speak for
here no one will give up another minute. I don't mind giving up my minutes to a poor speakers but but good speakers back here makes it rough for me. For her. My friends I'm just going to say to fans I'm going to my seat now Maum this thing is not oh. I have to Cain is going to use them oh about I don't know what he's going to say. He can say it cause he's God's man and he knows how to say. What I want to say to you just in Cheney's he forgets to tell ya. That this is not as yet. And we must still stick together. And we are and when I say we I'm talking about Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy and staff of the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference is going to be here with you until the mid terms put into practice what they have promised was. I. Was stunned. I said I have a protest to see some of my friends had never seen me like just the phone. I started to have a protest I went to the hospital to see the leader of this community. We all know who the leader is Fred Shuttlesworth. Last thing Fred said to me before you left the press conference was Ralph I want you to go to 16th Street Baptist Church and meet with the students and then come to the hospital and see me and I went out to that hospital and they didn't want to let me see him. And I didn't like it one bit. Now you know our son anywhere and at any time.
I believe in being alone you know. Martin Luther King was married when he was a stand up you know you're upset I've got the next plane and when I got there he said no nobody can see him you don't know who you talking to was. We're going to. Go. And meet me in and when I got to Turner number who I was they said OK come right here. And I went out there to see it and they come in and meet Tom not adopted out and put in a big way and he couldn't rest. And I started to tell them that if I was breathing my last breath I would want Fred Shuttlesworth to hold one hand. And Marie Martin Luther King the wholly other one. And I would want my why I don't hold my he. Would just come just because Dr. King told me
not to raise sank. I wouldn't turn that hospital out. When I wanted to see France journals know it. And I wanted to bring the report back here. And for chose with his not so sick that raft happened not to see him would have killed him. It would have made him feel better. And you turn and I see something. I am married and. God has given us a lead up. Where Giotto's work is a great man. To great man. And Milton Smith is a great man who has. The if I am moved here in my pocket right now. I checked for one thousand dollars which Milton Smith went to New York City and spoke and made such a stern address that
day said the Southern Christian Leadership Conference $1000 and I got a ticket or an Rev.. God no it is a great man and the only reason because of all the great men. But they won the game. I am the parent here to lead us to freedom how. Are you going to find oh yeah OK here's a doctor who can fake you again. Whoa whoa. Oh. Thank you back kind of.
Their friends and. My fellow. Bye Manhattan Alabama because I really feel like Birmingham is home now. And I think that guys should say to you that although we have been a great struggle I do not plan to Birmingham on a permanent basis I will be right here with a long long time. Thanks. I said to the members of my staff that we should not fail that this is a time for us to leave our
brothers and sisters and Birmingham. But that we should commit ourselves to being in and out. Staying here with the situation until every green man that had been made by the merchants and by other US has been met and carried out. Now I want to read a statement that I read in the press conference this afternoon and I think it will give you. An idea or at least explain to you exactly what has been accomplished accomplished over these last few days and then I will take some excerpts through the statement read by your president
Reverend Shadow's Rice at the press conference which explains the agreements made now for the first statement. I am very happy I had to be able to announce. That we have come today to the climax of the long struggle for justice. Freedom and human dignity in the city of Birmingham. I say the climax and not the end. For that we have come a long long way. That is still a strenuous path before us and some of it is yet on chart. Nevertheless it can now be said that after a great struggle this day is clearly the moment of a great victory.
The greatness of the Triumph is measured by this one fact. It is a victory that cannot possibly be confined to the limited area of one race. Indeed the agreements which have been reached over the last few days I seek no accomplishments which redound to the credit of all of Birmingham citizens. As a matter of fact I believe sincerely that this victory cannot even be confined within the limits of this sprawling metropolis. Birmingham now stands on the threshold of becoming a great enlightened symbol shedding the radiance of its example throughout this entire nation. Credit for what has been done most go to many a person without question of course. The name of the rat Reverend Fred
Shuttlesworth stands clear out as a magical name in this magic city. He has walked a long and often lonesome road to reach this state. And even now his health is empath. But he has just a reason to be thankful and glad. But I wanted his great sacrifice and moreover the many men and women who worked with him by his side and behind the scenes in the Alabama Christian movement for human rights must also be prayed. And without a doubt the world would never forget the thousands of children and adults who gave up that home physical safety and freedom and went to jail. To secure the safety and freedom of all men. I must say this too and these recent days I have been deeply
impressed by the quality of the right persons of the community who worked so diligently for just solutions to our mutual problem. They must also be given real credit. They are men of good will. However when all is said and done when this situation is seen in the perspective of eternity ultimate credit and glory and honor. Must be given to the Almighty God. For he has clearly been at work among us. And it is he alone who has finally gained the victory for all of his children. Under his guidance we now enter into a new date for Birmingham's people a day when men will no longer fear to speak the truth. And citizens will no longer cringe before the threats of a misguided man. We look forward now to
continued progress toward the establishment of a city in which equal job opportunity equal access to public facilities and equal rights and responsibilities for all of its people will be thought of every day. However even these Needful Things are not our final goal. The deepest hope that surges up within our hearts is this that Birmingham is on its way to the creation of a new kind of community not simply a new image. But a new reality. We are looking forward to that moment. So nearly upon us. When this metropolis will truly become a magic city again this time feel it with the beautiful magic of a new brotherhood. When a man afraid to know respect and love each other we seek
a magic black hole I will no longer be the measure of a man's worth. My character will matter more than pigmentation. I cannot because without saying that the Negro community must accept this achievement in the right spirit. We must not see the present development as a victory for the Negro. It is rather a victory for democracy in the whole citizenry of Birmingham and Negro in white. Our growth in nonviolence has been such that we cannot be satisfied with a victory over our white brothers. We must respond to every new development in civil rights with an understanding of those who have opposed us and with an appreciation of the new adjustments that the new achievements pose for them. We must be able to face up on a
sled to our own shortcomings. We must act in such a way as to make possible a coming together of right people and colored people on the basis of real harmony of interests and understanding. This is the time that we must see events calm dignity and wise restraint. Emotion must not run run. Violence must not come from any of us. But if we become victimized with violent acts our intent the pending DAYBREAK of progress will be transformed into a boom in midnight of retrogress as we stand on the verge of using public facilities here to fore close to us. We must not be overbearing and hearty and spirit. We must be loving anough to turn an enemy and to a friend. We must now move from protest to reconciliation. This
too is our hope for them in him. It is our hope that will cause us to look at the sign. I would say it's nice to have you in Birmingham. In a new way. Now we will know that these words are meant for all of God's children and we will know that they are sincere then and only then will all the citizens of this community be able to say in joyful response. Thank you. It's great to be in Birmingham a city of honor. Respect and brotherly love now. I want to go over with you. The specifics are great lengths that have been made. We told you that we were dealing with a point. Number one we said we are tired of segregation. And that we would. Seek to break down the
barriers of segregation in the places that we spend our money. We asked for desegregation of the lunch counters fitting rooms restrooms. And water fountains. Their agreement calls for number one. The desegregation of lunch counters restroom. Fitting rooms and drinkin found things in plan stages within the next 90 days. Now do you know Bama is doing something that even on the so-called progressive Atlanta Georgia didn't do when we made our agreement after our sit ins to get into integration at lunch counters. They were integrated after six months but here in Birmingham is after 90 days. We're moving on to freedom land.
Now this will be in order to assure ensure a smooth transition. All the planning stages. And to keep these mobs from getting a rouse you know the clan they still live somewhere. We're not announcing the dates right now. We didn't do it for the Press this morning but each of these will be done. Now the first one I'm going to announce tonight President yes I'll announce the first one and I'm going to run along with Ralph Abernathy to Atlanta to moderate our churches Sunday but we'll be right back here Monday. Now the first. Development will be Monday it's supposed to be three days after. The settlement. We settle today now Monday would be three days the fitting rooms will be integrated by Monday so you will know now that the fitting rooms are integrated. Starting Monday now we will let you know the second stage and I will I'll let you know that the second
will be the right of fountains and the restroom. And I will let you know exactly when that's going to be we're going to do this through the mass meeting. So that number one is clear and this is a great victory for justice in Birmingham. They have agreed to desegregate all of the facilities in the store was a Birmingham Alabama. And I think this is a great and significant victory number two. We made it clear that we were tired. Of getting. Poor jocks. We are tired of being the last hired and the first time. We made that very clear. We made it clear that we wanted some jobs. That are comparable to the jobs that any white person can get in Birmingham. Now this is the agreement.
The upgrading and hiring of new growers on a nondiscriminatory basis throughout the industrial community of Birmingham. This will include the hiring of Negroes. Listen to this. As clerks and salesmen within the next 60 days I just mean when you go out.
Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence
Episode Number
Part 1
A Happy Day in Birmingham, May 10, 1963 [Part 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 on Friday, May 10, 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama, where an agreement between leaders of the civil rights movement and city officials had recently been negotiated to end racial segregation in lunch counters, fitting rooms, restrooms, and water fountains; to end employment discrimination in industry; to release jailed demonstrators; and to establish a biracial committee to integrate schools, the police force, and parks, in addition to dealing with other issues. The agreement was reached after images of police attacking protesting children with dogs and fire hoses shocked the nation and world, and more than 1,000 students were jailed. The documentary includes commentary from various unnamed persons in Birmingham, in addition to speeches by Dr. Ralph D. Abernathy and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. King optimistically views the agreement as a path "to the creation of a new kind of community." He notes that the worldwide circulation of pictures of police using dogs and fire hoses to attack protesting children disturbed President Kennedy, who was trying to win the hearts and minds of neutral nations in Asia and Africa during the Cold War conflict with the Soviet Union. The program 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. 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
Created 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-868fe86b120 (Filename)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:00
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Chicago: “Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence; Part 1; A Happy Day in Birmingham, May 10, 1963 [Part 1 of 2],” 1963-05-31, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2023,
MLA: “Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence; Part 1; A Happy Day in Birmingham, May 10, 1963 [Part 1 of 2].” 1963-05-31. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2023. <>.
APA: Birmingham: Testament of Nonviolence; Part 1; A Happy Day in Birmingham, May 10, 1963 [Part 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