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During the March


A temporary truce was declared for Sunday; no marches would occur. That morning, blacks held kneel-ins at a dozen white churches, a few of which welcomed them. Some white congregants shook hands with the protesters.

That afternoon, two white folk singers who had come to record a mass meeting for the Smithsonian Institution were arrested on the steps of New Pilgrim Baptist Church. Reverend James Bevel, a Movement leader, was so angered by their arrests that he declared, “Let’s not march. Let’s just walk.”

More than a thousand worshippers rose from their pews, and, for the first time since Project C began, adults and children “walked” together. The line stretched five blocks, forming the largest protest march in Birmingham history.

Two blocks shy of the jail, where they hoped to hold a pray-in, they were confronted by ranks of police and firemen led by Connor. Connor instructed the firefighters to turn on the hoses, but they didn’t move. Along with the police, the firemen stepped aside and allowed the marchers to cross the street to a park, where they knelt and prayed.

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