60th Anniversary Event to Commemorate Tuscaloosa’s Bloody Tuesday (2024)

The historic event known as “Bloody Tuesday” occurred at the First African Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on June 9, 1964. Citizens were planning a march to the newly built Tuscaloosa County Courthouse with the aim of integrating the segregated drinking fountains, restrooms, and facilities.

The Bloody Tuesday Committee will mark the 60th anniversary of this tragic day in Tuscaloosa history with various events on Sunday, June 9.

The events planned “celebrates one of the most important, if not the most important, events in the history of segregation/integration in the City of Tuscaloosa--sixty years later,” said Irene Byrd, Bloody Tuesday Committee Publicity Chairman. “It should take its notable place in history along with that of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma.”

60th Anniversary Event to Commemorate Tuscaloosa’s Bloody Tuesday (1)

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“Where Do We Go From Here” Program Starts at 3:00 p.m.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. for the first event commemorating the 60th anniversary that will begin at 3:00 p.m. at the First African Baptist Church, 2621 Stillman Blvd, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401. The program, titled “Where Do We Go From Here: Bloody Tuesday in Tuscaloosa,” will feature Guest Speaker Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama's 7th Congressional District.

Other great program features are a memorial choir, young praise dancers, and youth ushers from the Young Leaders Institute (YLI). Dr. Charles Steele, Executive Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, will also attend.

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Commemoration March Starts at 4:15 p.m.

The Bloody Tuesday committee desires to bring further awareness of the historical “March” that helped to open the doors and alter the course of segregation in the city.

According to the press release from the Bloody Tuesday Committee, the “March to the Tuscaloosa County Court House will begin at the church at 4:15 p.m. and will be led by U. S. Congresswoman Sewell, Dr. Charles Steele (SCLC), The Tuscaloosa Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Legislator Christopher England, Member of the Alabama House of Representatives-70th District, the local chapters of the NAACP and SCLC, and The Unity Group.”

Foot Soldiers and other participants will attend the program. Rev. Walter Hawkins, Pastor of Dry Creek Baptist Church in Fosters, Alabama, will deliver an inspirational address at the Tuscaloosa County Courthouse. After his message, the marchers will return to the church for a reception.

The Reception Starts at 5:30 p.m.

The reception will highlight Dr. John Giggie, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South at the University of Alabama, who will be signing copies of his acclaimed book, "Bloody Tuesday: The Untold Story of the Struggle for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa.

The event will also feature conversations and photo opportunities with dignitaries and Foot Soldiers. The Bloody Tuesday Committee said the afternoon promises an enlightening journey through history to inspire future generations.

Historical Background on “Bloody Tuesday”

The “March” was organized and led by Rev. T. Y. Rogers, Jr., the church’s pastor, and the Tuscaloosa Citizens for Action Committee. He got no farther than a few feet from the church, where he was confronted by police and other deputized citizens (some Klansmen) with weapons, sticks, and cattle prods. Rogers was immediately arrested and taken to jail.

Byrd wants Alabamians to remember there were over “500 or more citizens there that day, and the Foot Soldiers never made it to the Court House. Many were beaten severely with billy sticks, shocked with cattle prods, and hit with other objects by police and members of the Ku Klux Klan.”

Also, “over 94 people went to jail, 33 or more went to the hospital, and others retreated into the church for safety and were water hosed and teargassed.”

“The news of this occurrence was limited; it was a dark day the news media forgot, did not cover, or did not report,” said Byrd.

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60th Anniversary Event to Commemorate Tuscaloosa’s Bloody Tuesday (2024)
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