The Police Chief of Birmingham Alabama, George "Bull" Connor, explains how the city does not need the 3000 federal troops that the President sent to control the racial unrest caused by Martin Luther King Jr.
Bull Connor Statement
Police Chief GEORGE “BULL” CONNOR: Ladies and gentlemen, for 42 days now the city of Birmingham has been under siege from outside agitators led by Martin Luther King. Now, the President has seen fit to move some 3,000 federal troops into this state for possible use in Birmingham. These troops deployed for use in a city that does not need them. The Birmingham police, assisted by law enforcement agencies from the county and surrounding areas, and backed up by the Alabama highway patrol have the situation here under control and are working around the clock to maintain law and order.
If there is any one in this nation who understands what is going on here, it is me. I know that we have sufficient manpower, enough trained officers to keep the peace in Birmingham, without any outside help from the federal government. If the president is really sincere about wanting peace in Birmingham why doesn’t he use his great influence and ask Martin Luther King and his bunch of agitators to leave our city.
This bunch has done what they wanted to do, stir up trouble among whites and negro citizens, collected money, and have attempted to give this city a black eye to the rest of the nation. No sir, we don’t need federal troops here. What we need is for the president to show sincerity in wanting peace in Birmingham and get the outside agitators to leave us alone, and let us work out our problems locally. We will use the same tactics that we have used before.
Reporter: We will use the hoses and dogs?
Police Chief CONNOR: We will use the dogs if they start throwing knives again and throwing rocks. We will use the hose if it becomes necessary to stop the mob.
Reporter: What will you do if the whites demonstrate?
Police Chief CONNOR: We’ll have to use the same tactics.
Forty years after it ended, the 1960s remains the most consequential and controversial decade of the 20th century. It would dawn bright with hope and idealism, see the liberal state attain its mightiest reforms and reach, and end in discord and disillusionment. Many would remember it nostalgically, and perhaps many more would describe it as an era of irresponsible excess.