Child Foot Soldier: "Water hoses felt like hot grease in my face - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Child Foot Soldier: "Water hoses felt like hot grease in my face"

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As we celebrate 50 Years Forward, we can't forget about the brave children who put their lives on the line in the fight for Civil Rights.

In May 1963, thousands of Birmingham students marched downtown to talk to the mayor about segregation in the city.

But, they were attacked by fire hoses and police dogs.

This is how Gloria Randall described the children's march. ""It was a horrific time. It was a time of horror. It was time to be afraid. It was a time of injustice. It was a time of inequality."

Alabama's 13 Ashley Roberts: "What was your motivation for marching?"

Randall: "We were children and we were willing to die before we would allow ourselves to be treated like our parents."

Randall was a child foot soldier.


She marched out of 16th Street Baptist Church and through the streets in 1963. Danger was at every turn.

50 years later, it's still emotional for Randall to walk through Kelly Ingram Park where so many children encountered abuse and unimaginable violence.

"I got water hosed at the end of Kelly Ingram on that side. I was water hosed down. I was trying to stand behind the bigger kids because I didn't weigh, but 88 pounds."

Alabama's 13 Ashley Roberts: "You had to be smart?"

Randall: "Use your head. I'm gonna stand behind him. He's bigger than I am. I'm going to try to stand down to take some of that pressure off. People were rolling down the street like balls and the water hoses felt like hot grease in my face."

Randall spends her time now talking to people in the community and around the country about the Civil Rights Movement.

She says it's important for people to know their history so they don't repeat it.

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