The Commissioner of Public Safety, Eugene "Bull" Connor,

from Martin Luther King, Jr – Letter From Birmingham Jail on Rap Genius

Meaning

Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, during the American Civil Rights Movement.

His office gave him responsibility for administrative oversight of the Birmingham Fire Department and the Birmingham Police Department, which had their own chiefs.

Through his covert actions to enforce racial segregation and deny civil rights to African American citizens, especially during the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Birmingham Campaign of 1963, Connor became an international symbol of bigotry. Connor infamously directed the use of fire hoses, and police attack dogs against peaceful demonstrators, including children.

His aggressive tactics backfired when the spectacle of the brutality being broadcast on national television served as one of the catalysts for major social and legal change in the southern United States and helped in large measure to assure the passage by the United States Congress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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