The Leesburg Stockade Girls
The Leesburg Stockade Girls.
July of 1963, a couple months before MLK Jr's "I have a dream" speech.
In May of 1963, at an invitation from Dr King, thousands of children joined the Civil Rights movement, in May 2nd, 1000, give or take, gathered at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Al. By day's end, over 600 had been arrested.
It didn't deter them. By the end of May, over 5,000 had been jailed.
So, in July, 15 young girls, ages 12 to 15, marched from Friendship Baptist Church to the Martin Theater, in Americus, Ga. Instead of going to the back alley, to enter from the rear, as they were expected to, they lined up out front to purchase tickets.
They were subsequently arrested and bussed to the Leesburg Stockades- yes, *stockade, where livestock is housed for auctions*- in Leesburg, Ga, over 30 miles away.
Their parents were never notified. They were not formally charged. Instead, they were kept in horrid, squalid, inhumane conditions, unbeknownst to the outside world, until a photographer heard a rumor about these girls, and managed to sneak in to get photos of them.
That was how the world at large learned about what was happening to these girls.
As MLK Jr gave his now famous speech in August, they were still held. Still not charged. Still did not have their families informed of where they were, until a janitor who worked there, personally went and informed their parents.
The same week of the church bombing that killed 5 little black girls, on Sept 15, 1963, the Leesburg Stockade Girls were finally released.
*45 days after they were arrested.*
They were never formally charged, but they were charged a fee 'for use of the facility' in which they had been held.
Several are still alive to this day.