The American blacks in the 1950s and 1960s faced relentless racial discrimination in the Southern US states, in particular, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. American civil rights leaders like Malcolm X, James Baldwin, F. Lou Hammer, Ella Baker, Jesse Jackson and others under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, a young Baptist Minister decided to get the equal rights for the blacks and other people not through violent demonstrations and threats, but by following non violence as showcased by Gandhiji against the British. In the 1960s, the southern states were facing a sort of pressure-cooker like situation as the civil rights movements had gained huge popularity and more and more joined the public protests, etc as days went by.
|American racist Eugene "Bull" Connor Famous Biographies|
In a tumultuous situation pertaining to race relationship in the city of Birmingham, Alabama, which was once the most racially separated city in the US, one man hogged the lime light for the wrong reason. He became an international symbol of institutional racism. Perhaps, you may put him on par with English racist Enoch Powell and Winston Churchill, well-known racist and the greatest Briton who saved the British Empire and the world from the fury of German fuhrer Hitler. His name is Theophilus Eugene Connor (July 11, 1897 – March 10, 1973) to whom the Black race was an anathema.
|Winston Churchill, British Racist. World War 2 Facts|
|British politician and racist. Powell in 1987 en.wikipedia.org/|
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Birmingham campaign of 1963 decided to protest against several issues including racial separation on buses, schools, voting rights, etc. Later the famous Selma March (5 day march in 1964) was held to secure voting rights for the blacks under Dr. King. The campaign had other plans under the able leadership of Dr. King. Understanding campaign's ever-gaining popularity and its impact on the American white society, Connor enforced strict legal racial segregation and denied civil rights to black citizens, during this period.
|Bull Connor, Alabama politicianTobyToons|
|Bull Connor and dog www.huffingtonpost.com/j|
|1963 Birmingham Police Chief Eugene “Bull” ConnerPinterest|
Ever since his entry into politics in the state of Alabama, Bull Connor had held many important posts. In 1936, Connor was elected to the office of Commissioner of Public Safety of Birmingham, beginning the first of two stretches that spanned a total of 26 years. His first term ended in 1952, but he was re-elected in 1956, serving up to 1963. Though a democrat, he was a sworn racist and was particular about continence of emotional issues like racial discrimination, racial separation, etc. He was one among the prominent politicians who made Birmingham become the most segregated city
in the US. Perhaps, it may counted as his 'star' achievement.
|Birmingham civil rights demostration SlidePlayer|
Connor's brutal approach with respect to race relationship never declined, rather it reached the crescendo in 1956 when his loyal officers raided the a meeting at the house of African-American activist, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, where three Montgomery ministers were attending. Fearing the Montgomery Bus Boycott might impact Birmingham he had the three ministers arrested and did not allow bail.
Shuttlesworth had led civil rights activities, despite threats. Later, his church was bombed twice. A racist mob attacked him, a white minister and his wife after attempting to use "white" restrooms at the local bus station, which had segregated facilities.
In 1962 the city's form of government was changed and the city of Birmingham was to be administered by a Mayor assisted by the elected council members. Since Bull Connor, with out any shame or scruples had let the racist Klan members have a free run on the blacks activists using extreme violence and intimidation during the Freedom Rides in 1961, a section of the society was sick with his racial hatred. Though he was endorsed by Gov. George C. Wallace, yet another hardcore racist (in the 1970s, I believe, he twice ran for the US Presidential election on Democratic Party ticket; Wallace has the third longest gubernatorial tenure in post-Constitutional U.S. history, at 16 years and four days.). He in the 1960s protested against the university of Alabama, enrolling black students. Connor attempted to run for mayor, but lost on April 2, 1963. Between June 1964 and Feb. 1973 he was elected twice the head of the Alabama Commission and remained in politics despite poor health. He died in March 1973. Through out his life never had he regretted his repulsion for the black people of the southern states. His brutality against the blacks and his open collusion with the racist group KKK show him in bad light and his political leadership in the racial history of Birmingham is the darkest and dreaded one.