Birmingham, AL / USA - May 7, 2017: 16th Street Baptist Church as seen from Kelly Ingram Park; Shutterstock ID 1794704176; your: Bridget Brown; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: POI Image Update

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Kelly Ingram Park


When Bull Conner was the sheriff, civil rights activists, led by Dr King, embarked on a desegregation campaign downtown. Their strategy was to flood the city jails with students, many of them high-school students who became known as ‘foot soldiers’ within the movement. After weeks of restraint, police set attack dogs upon the kids and local firemen blasted them with water cannons in Kelly Ingram Park, and on the city streets where they were pinned against walls.

Today the park forms a seminal stop in the Birmingham Civil Rights Memorial Trail, and – perhaps ironically, perhaps appropriately given its social justice background – serves as a gathering space for the local homeless and indigent community. The park's main draw is a series of powerful sculptures, each depicting a moment in the Civil Rights struggle. In one space, the path becomes a gauntlet of snarling police dogs, while further down the path, a water cannon is aimed at park visitors.

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