Tuscaloosa to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Tuesday” - Alabamas13.com WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Tuscaloosa to Commemorate 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Tuesday”

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TUSCALOOSA, AL - June 9, 1964 is known as "Bloody Tuesday" in Tuscaloosa, after a group of African Americans attempted to march to the County Courthouse to demand equal rights. Many were beaten and arrested.

When Tuscaloosa City Council President Harrison Taylor was 17 years old he lined up to participate in a march from First African Baptist Church to the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse. He said his motivation for marching was to get a better life. “Reverend T.Y. Rogers, Reverend Lynch and other leaders convinced us to march to the courthouse. Our orders were if someone falls in front of you step over them and keep going. Our orders were get to the courthouse. Use the white restroom and drink out of the white water fountains,” Taylor added.

But the group never made it. Reverend T.W. Linton was in his 30's at the time and he helped with the logistics of the march. He was in charge of getting a march permit and bailing people out of jail.

When the marchers exited the church they were beaten by law enforcement officers. According to Taylor the crowd was pushed back inside the church where he was tear gassed.

Reverend Linton said when people were able to escape the church they came to this barber shop where he was working and he says the floor was filled with those people who were injured.

Despite the 33 people injured and 94 arrested reverend Linton knew he was one of the only leaders that were able to call for help. Linton said, “I called Dr. King. Dr. King said tell me exactly what happen. I told him. He said Reverend I'll send you some help because all your leaders is in jail. I called Bobby Kennedy in Washington D.C. He said reverend I've been expecting your call tell me what happened. I told him. The only thing he told me, he said Reverend I'll do what I can.”

And whatever Kennedy was able to do helped. Linton said he wasn't bothered for the rest of the week, which is how long it took him to get everyone out of jail.

Both Taylor and Linton said they are proud of how far their city has come since the civil rights movement....a movement that forever shaped their lives.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Tuesday” and honor Tuscaloosa’s civil rights history, the First African Baptist Church will play host to the upcoming event’s activities. Beginning on June 8th, a special program will be held at the church at 4:00 p.m., followed by a mass meeting with guest speakers at 6:00 p.m. on June 9th. To end the three-day memorial, on June 10th at 9:00 a.m., there will be a march from the First African Baptist Church on Stillman Blvd. to the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse, to honor the path taken that was to be taken by protesters 50 years ago. This three-day event serves as a memorial for the civil rights movement and its history in Tuscaloosa. 



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