Marching for freedom led to many days in jail

Gloria Washington Lewis Randall

Gloria Washington Lewis Randall

Age 15 in 1963

Gloria was excited to be a foot soldier in the 1963 Children’s Crusade, but a harrowing experience landed her in jail for more than a month.

What I remember most about our marching in 1963, was my being jailed after leaving Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, making it to City Hall, and being thrown in the paddy wagon with all guys! Being kept at the Fairgrounds, and later being sent to the County Jail, for taking part in trying to stop one of the police officers from raping one of the girls. I was kept in a sweat box for days upon days, and kept in jail over a month before my family located me! They kept saying I was too young to be there, but they tried to lose me.

Several other girls from Hayes High School were sent to County Jail as well, for attacking the police officer! I was a sheltered but outgoing person, but never before had I experienced the hostility, hatred, and cruelty that I did on this journey toward equality. The movement was out of money, and those 5 days turned into countless days! They did pray for me at services, nightly, after finding out where I was.

I have many stories that are mine and mine alone! I was a majorette at A.H. Parker High, and in many extracurricular activities, so I was very well known! My story is TRUTH, and easy to verify! It’s been documented, and spoken about on HBO, Channels 6, 13, and 42, in Birmingham.

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth was certainly an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement, and often did not get the accolades he was due! He was president of the SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] when he invited Dr. KING to come to Birmingham! He was ALSO a powerful speaker and a fiery minister. He was the Founding Father for the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement!


A January 2023 oral history interview with Gloria Washington Lewis Randall is posted here.

Gloria Washington Lewis Randall submitted this written piece to Kids in Birmingham 1963 in 2022 and offered more details in an oral history interview which she recorded in January 2023. Her story is featured in the Academy Award-winning documentary “Mighty Times: The Children’s March” and in the book Birmingham Foot Soldiers: Voices from the Civil Rights Movement, by Nick Patterson.