In the 1960s, the city of Birmingham was the site of the first mass beatings of those demonstrating for desegregation in America. Because West Park, as it was known then, was across from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, it became a natural meeting place for Birmingham’s African American community. During the first week of May, 1963, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference chose the park to be the site of a massive protest. Thousands of civil rights demonstrators gathered. Police and firemen, under orders from Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene “Bull” Connor, attacked and apprehended demonstrators and put them in jail. When so many adult protestors were incarcerated that their ranks were depleted, the SCLC called on children and high school students to continue the protests. Within two days, one thousand children, some as young as six years old, had also been put in jail. The jails were overflowing. This is when Commissioner Connor ordered the use of high powered fire hoses, police nightsticks and dogs to be used against the protestors to discourage their cause.