Despite being tortured by the Ku Klux Klan, Charles Billups led a march of over 1,000 people and stared down Police Commissioner Bull Connor of Birmingham. Billups’ nonviolence prompted Connor’s firefighters to refuse his order, leading to a victory that Martin Luther King hailed because it revealed “the power of nonviolence to me for the first time.” This march proved crucial in winning the campaign in Birmingham, the climax of the entire civil rights movement.

Renee Billups Baker / Photo Frank Couch/fcouch@al.com in The Birmingham NewsBillups’ daughter, Rene Billups Baker, tells the story of her courageous father for the first time outside of Birmingham. She adds her own personal experiences with Martin Luther King.  She will be introduced by Professor Keith Miller of ASU, who wrote two books about King’s speeches, and who is assisting her in writing her memoir.

This conversation with Renee Billups Baker is presented in celebration of Black History Month by ASU's Department of English and African and African American Studies in the School of Social Transformation, both units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Rev. Charles Billups kneels in prayer along side Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth as their march in April of 1963 is stopped in front of the Federal Courthouse in Birmingham, AL (The Birmingham News file photo)

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Event Map: 

For More Information Contact:

Keith Miller
Department of English
Keith.Miller@asu.edu
480-965-7893