45 years ago yesterday…..
Between 1947 and 1965, over fifty bombings occurred in Birmingham, resulting in the city becoming known as “Bombingham”; Perhaps the most famous of these blasts was the one that took the lives of four innocent black youth as they prepared their Sunday School lessons on a Sunday Morning at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.
The bombing came as a result of heightened tensions in the city after a federal court ordered its schools to be integrated. Governor George Wallace chose to defy this order and urged his followers to do the same. Such defiance only encouraged Birmingham’s bombers to swing into action. Indeed, a local black attorney’s house was bombed for the second time in two weeks. In the end, federal authorities won this minor skirmish and the schools were desegregated. Segregationists in Birmingham were not happy.
On a quiet Sunday morning, September 15, 1963, four little black girls prepared their Sunday School lessons in the basement of the church. In the same basement sat a bomb placed by segregationists, designed to kill and maim in protest of the forced integration of Birmingham’s public schools. Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins were killed in the explosion. Angry blacks rioted and the civil authorities responded with great violence. During the rest of the day, other black youths were murdered by police and civilians alike, compounding the desperation.
h/t ABB for reminding us.