1963: Fifty Years Ago, Everything Changed

A look, by the numbers, at the significance of 1963:

5,961: The number of words in “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” Dr. King’s response to White clergymen who urged a more patient approach to desegregation. The letter, written on April 16, declared, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

2: The number of Black students who, on June 11, escorted by the National Guard, integrated the University of Alabama. One of the students, Vivian Malone Jones, became the first Black graduate in the institution’s 134-year history.

37: The age of civil rights activist Medgar Evers when he was shot and killed outside his home on June 12.

10:22 A.M.: The time on September 15 that a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing (from left) Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins and Cynthia Wesley.

250,000: The estimated attendance at the August 28 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his rousing and unforgettable “I Have a Dream” speech.

H.R. 7152: The bill introduced by President John F. Kennedy to end institutionalized racism. After JFK’s assassination on November 22, his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, used the nation’s moral outrage to gain passage of the bill the following year.