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Although it is a fiction and the Watson family is also fictitious, the story is based on the factual 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. That incident had worked like a catalyst for the American civil-rights movement in the country. The story is set in the year 1963. It takes place during the civil rights movement. In spite of being a children's classic, the novel explores certain significant themes such as discrimination, prejudice, segregation, civil rights, etc. The real historical event, the Church bombing, happens to be a major event in the novel. Literature Help: The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 Copyright Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: Plot Overview Chapter Three: Characters Chapter Four: Complete Summary Chapter Five: Critical Analysis