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Remembering four innocent girls, martyred in the USA
Last weekend marked the anniversary of a horrific race-hate crime, which serves as a reminder that, not so long ago, apartheid was legal in the Land of the Free.
- United States
- September 17, 2012
Though the bible teaches forgiveness, we must never forget the heinous acts committed by racist white men of the Klans of America whose heartless deeds preyed upon black children with hatred and evilness during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Itâ€™s important to remember during this Black History Month the countless souls that perished in the quest for equality and to never forget the senseless killing of these four innocent and martyred little girls.
The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed on Sunday, September 15, 1963. The explosion at the African-American church, which killed four girls, marked a turning point in the U.S. 1960s Civil Rights Movement and contributed to support for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Although city leaders had reached a settlement in May with demonstrators and started to integrate public places, not everyone agreed with ending segregation. Bombings and other acts of violence followed the settlement, and the church had become an inviting target.
The three-story 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama had been a rallying point for civil rights activities through the spring of 1963, and was where the students who were arrested during the 1963 Birmingham campaignâ€™s Childrenâ€™s Crusade were trained.
The church was used as a meeting-place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth. Tensions were escalated when the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) became involved in a campaign to register African Americans to vote in Birmingham.
Still, the campaign was successful. The demonstrations led to an agreement in May between the cityâ€™s African-American leaders and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to integrate public facilities in the country.
In the early morning of Sunday, September 15, 1963, Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Herman Frank Cash, and Robert Chambliss, members of United Klans of America, a Ku Klux Klan group, planted a box of dynamite with a time delay under the steps of the church, near the basement. At about 10:22 a.m., twenty-six children were walking into the basement assembly room to prepare for the sermon entitled â€śThe Love That Forgives,â€ť when the bomb exploded.
Four girls, Addie Mae Collins (aged 14), Denise McNair (aged 11), Carole Robertson (aged 14), and Cynthia Wesley (aged 14), were killed in the attack, and 22 additional people were injured, one of whom was Addie Mae Collinsâ€™ younger sister, Sarah. The explosion blew a hole in the churchâ€™s rear wall, destroyed the back steps and all but one stained-glass window, which showed Christ leading a group of little children.
Full Story: The Killing Of Innocence: Alabamaâ€™s 16th Street Church Bombing Was Most Horrific Race Crime Of Entire Civil Rights Era
Source: The People's Champion