Throwback Thursdays

The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Happened On This Day In 1963

September 15


On this day in 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed, killing 4 little girls and injuring several others. Planted by four Ku Klux Klan members – Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr., Herman Frank Cash, Robert Edward Chambliss and Bobby Frank Cherry – the bomb went off at approximately 10:22am and three weeks after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech. The bodies of the four little girls – Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair – were all found in the basement bathroom. Sarah Collins was also in the basement at the time of the explosion; Although she survived, she lost her right eye. Robert Chambliss was convicted of first degree murder for Denise McNair in 1977 while Edwin Blanton Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry weren’t convicted until 2001 and 2002 when they were sentenced to life in prison. This bombing is what led to President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Most recently, President Barack Obama awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to the four girls killed in 1963 by presenting the medal to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

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