Civil Rights 40th anniversary
Tuesday 28th January 1964
Tuesday 28th January 1964 is a day that will always be remembered in the history of Springtown Camp.A silent protest march took place from Springtown Camp on that day to the guildhall in protest at the conditions in which the families of Springtown were forced to live in.The conditions of the huts were the men women and children lived were described as the worst housing conditions that had ever seen in the country by one reporter.As well as marching and demanding the right to have a proper home to bring up their children they also demanded jobs, which had been denied to them,as well as voting rights.The RUC had been in contact with the committee organizing the march and warned them that if they did not adhere strictly to the conditions imposed on the march then they,the RUC,would stop the march.The march made its way up the Northland road down the Rock road and on to the Strand road and then up to the guildhall steps.As the march came up the Strand road many Derry people lined the pavements and spontaneous applause broke out as the protesters passed by.Over 20,000 people signed a petition that day heaping shame on the Derry corporation for the way it had treated the people of Springtown Camp. By coincidence Willie Deery has sent us an article for Deerys diary outlining the struggle of the Springtown Camp residents for civil rights. click more to view the article.
October the 5th 1968 Civil Rights March
October the 5th 1968 Duke street, Waterside Derry a date that was to become a watershed in the history of Derry and indeed of the six counties.A civil rights march was planned to take place from the waterside train station to the Guildhall.The marchers were protesting about the denial of basic civil rights such as jobs ,houses and votes. The march was banned by then home affairs minister Willie Craig.The crowd, myself included, made their way up Duke street about 500 yards were it stopped at a barricade that had been erected by the then RUC to stop the march from proceeding.After a few minutes of a tense stand off and without warning or provocation the RUC viciously attacked the protesters .The attack was captured on film and the images were flashed around the world in a few hours.
I am sure that for anyone who reads the two paragraphs above will notice the striking similarities of the two events.This is why when Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh, who is the treasurer of the committee set up to plan and organize the events surrounding the 40th anniversary of the 5th of October Civil Rights march in 1968 contacted www.springtowncamp.com that I was delighted to offer him our support.Myself and Willie Deery attended a meeting of the committee which was convened in Fionbarra's house at 15 Crawford square in Derry.Fionbarra invited myself and Willie to sign the back of the original Civil Rights poster on behalf of the people of Springtown Camp,this we were honored to do.This poster was already signed by many of the people who took part in the struggle for civil rights in the early days of the campaign.We at www.springtowncamp.com will do all in our power to assist the committee as it sets about its ambitious plans for the 40th anniversary and we will keep all our visitors up to date with the plans as we get them.
Here is a copy of an email that was sent to www.springtowncamp.com ?by Fionnbarra O'Dochartaigh setting out the committee's intensions.
A Chara Hugo,