Attorney General Letitia James stands with civil rights leaders in salute to FDNY’s bold stance

July 11, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Sixty years after a brutal response to a peaceful civil rights march in Birmingham, Alabama, the brave individuals who stood their ground as children thanked the FDNY officers who boldly opposed the actions of their Birmingham counterparts. The gathering of gratitude took place Monday, July 10, 2023, at FDNY Engine Co. 1, Ladder 24, located in Manhattan.

On May 2, 1963, the “Children’s Crusade” saw hundreds of African American children march non-violently from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church to downtown Birmingham to protest segregation. In a shocking response, the Birmingham Fire Department used fire hoses and attack dogs against the unarmed, peaceful protesters. The violent spectacle of young students being assaulted by the city’s own forces shocked the nation and spurred significant legislative action against segregation.

In the face of such social injustice, FDNY officers had stood up against the City of Birmingham Fire Department, condemning their actions. Yesterday, on the 60th anniversary of the tragic event, the Alabama civil rights leaders, once those children on the front lines of the fight for equality, expressed their gratitude to the FDNY for their show of solidarity and their stance against the brutal tactics employed.

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New York State Attorney General Letitia James, alongside City Council President Adrienne Adams and FDNY Lt. James McCarthy of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, took part in the event. Attorney General James expressed her gratitude for the FDNY’s past actions and paid homage to the courageous civil rights leaders of the Children’s Crusade.


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