Class Room

Kids in Birmingham 1963 offers the primary sources that bring history alive. See ideas below for using this site for teaching and learning. NEW Lesson Plan.

Click here: Lesson 2. What would YOU do? The 1963 Birmingham Children’s Crusade.

Click here for LESSON PLAN to commemorate the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church – available in time for September’s 50th anniversary.

Direct access to the people who were there

Students may interview the site’s storytellers by sending an e-mail query to   In 1963, we were young people who were active in or affected by the Civil Rights Movement. Ask us your questions.

Why Birmingham? Why 1963?

Quick: Think of an image that means “Civil Rights Movement” to you.

If you saw:

  • Fire hoses trained on young people

  • Snarling police dogs straining at leashes

  • Broken stained glass from a bombed church with four children left dead

…then you are likely thinking of an image from Birmingham, Alabama, during the “Year of Birmingham,” 1963.

The twentieth-century civil rights movement came to a head in Birmingham that year. The events of Birmingham marked a turning point and led directly to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

50+ Years Later

In 2013, as the country observed the 50th anniversary of the Year of Birmingham, a few names stood out — people who committed racial atrocities or who led marches. But thousands of us were young enough to be in school and old enough to recognize that we were witnessing historic events.  Now we reflect on what it was like and how that year shaped our lives.

Tips for Teachers: Make the most of Kids in Birmingham 1963

  • Study the site’s 1963 Timeline for a quick glance at the events – in Birmingham and elsewhere – that allowed the civil rights movement to usher in the end of Jim Crow laws.
  • Read the stories and consider how your students might relate to the storytellers – young people in the midst of tremendous violence and social change for good.
  • Help students consider questions to pose to the storytellers – and then have them “interview” a storyteller by sending an e-mail to (Responses are not guaranteed – but should arrive within about 2 weeks.)

Send us your ideas for ways to use Kids in Birmingham 1963 to help the next generation value the actions people took in 1963 – and to consider how they, too, can be young people who make a difference. We will publish the best plans – and give you credit!