Community snapshot: In Birmingham, Alabama on May 2, 1963 young people attempted to march peacefully through the downtown area of the city. It wasn’t so peaceful.
In Las Cruces on Wednesday, Valley View Elementary School‘s third grade classrooms had a reenactment of those civil rights marches from 55 years ago. The student marches in the spring of 1963 were the beginning of a violent year that would culminate in the Ku Klux Klan bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church, where four black girls were killed. The scenes from Birmingham in part prompted the nation’s leaders to continue work on the Civil Rights Act.
In Valley View’s reenactment, students marched for civil rights and other rights they’ve studied in class, teachers said.
Valley View’s social worker, Anthony Grenko, took on the role of Birmingham Police Commissioner Bull Connor, a segregationist, who yelled at and sprayed the students with a hose as they tried to demonstrate peacefully.
This reenactment was an effort to help students embody and connect with the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement and fully understand and appreciate the rights they have today, organizers said.
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