Encyclopedia Virginia has a great twitter account, @TodayInVa. My favorite are their links to events on this day in history. For Virginia those events so often surround fights for liberty whether it’s the Revolutionary War, the Civil War or the Civil Rights Era.

June 6, 1963 marks the Danville civil rights demonstrations. Here’s a portion of the account of those events provided by Encyclopedia Virginia:

  • May 31, 1963 – A few weeks after well-publicized demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, protests led by two members of the Danville Christian Progressive Association begin in Danville. The demonstrators seek the participation of blacks in municipal government and services and the hiring of blacks in downtown white businesses.
  • June 5, 1963 – Danville Christian Progressive Association protesters march into City Hall and occupy the city manager’s office.
  • June 6, 1963 – Two hundred people demonstrate at the Danville Municipal Building. Danville Corporation Court Judge Archibald M. Aiken Jr. indicts three demonstration leaders for “conspiring to incite the colored population of the State to acts of violence and war against the white population,” an 1859 statute enacted after John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.
  • June 10, 1963 – A prayer vigil for those arrested earlier in the day for participating in the Danville civil rights demonstrations is met with violence as police and deputized garbage men attack the vigil with clubs and fire hoses, injuring forty-seven.
  • June 17, 1963 – Trials begin for those arrested in the Danville civil rights demonstrations. The U.S. Justice Department issues a brief that strongly criticizes Judge Archibald M. Aiken Jr.’s courtroom procedures.
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