June 26, 2015 |
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - They'd been learning about this place and the terrible history it holds for months. So when the Anderson Monarchs entered 16th Street Baptist Church at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, nearly the exact time a deadly bomb exploded there on Sept. 15, 1963, they did so as solemnly as mourners. Almost immediately in this place they were told was "hallowed ground," their wide eyes were drawn upward to a spot high on a sanctuary wall. There the projected faces of the four black girls killed in that horrific act 52 years ago smiled down upon them like welcoming angels.
September 16, 2013 |
Birmingham is a vibrant, modern city with first-class attractions and entertainment, continually offering itself up for comparison with other major metropolitan areas. The largest city in Alabama, it has major colleges of medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, law, engineering, and nursing. But what's most unique about Birmingham is its beginning. This planned post-Civil War Reconstruction city was founded in 1871, a monument to industrial imagination and urban planning. Founding fathers situated their dream city at the crossing of two railroad lines where the components for iron and steel production - coal, iron ore, and limestone - were in abundance.
September 15, 2013 |
THE REV. Arthur Price Jr., pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was born in Philadelphia just two years after the church was forever linked with one of the darkest days in the nation's civil-rights history. That morning, Sept. 15, 1963, a bomb blast at 10:22 a.m. killed four young girls who were in Sunday School. The girls - Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, all 14, and Denise McNair, 11 - were in a restroom combing their hair and getting ready for Youth Day services at 11 a.m. But 20 pounds of dynamite, set off by men affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, shattered the church basement, sending bricks and glass flying everywhere.
May 10, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Four victims of a deadly Alabama church bombing at the height of the civil rights movement are now just a presidential signature away from receiving Congress' highest civilian honor. The Senate on Thursday approved by voice vote a measure that would posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair. The Senate approval of the measure comes after the House in April voted 420-0 to award the medal to the girls.
May 24, 2002
The importance of Wednesday's conviction of the last racist suspect in the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham, Ala., church, which left four young black girls dead, should be obvious. But 39 years later - when TV news reports give more minutes to the discovery of a missing Washington intern's bones - one wonders if it is. Four decades have passed since the civil-rights movement reached a crescendo in Alabama's largest city. Has that allowed the rest of America to forget what it was like back then?
May 7, 2001
Imagine: A bustling urban gathering place, filled on a sunny morning. A bomb is planted, in service of a twisted political vision. An explosion. Terror and tears. Children dead; children whose parents had lovingly combed their hair an hour before, blown to bits by hate. When this nightmare occurred in Oklahoma City in 1995, the FBI deployed with maniacal urgency. Within days, Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh had been captured. But try to imagine this scenario: The FBI, having developed a pile of evidence pointing toward the killers, just buries it in a regional office file drawer.
May 4, 2001 |
They led Thomas Blanton Tuesday from the courthouse to a jailhouse, where this baby-killing lowlife will be caged for the rest of his unnatural life. I hope he lives to be 100. Yes, I oppose the death penalty even for a craven coward like Blanton, who planted the dynamite that destroyed the lives of four innocent little girls in Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. Instead of the momentary satisfaction that may come to survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing victims who watch Timothy McVeigh die peacefully next week, I'd sooner see Blanton become a national monument.
May 3, 2001 |
I remember as if it were yesterday. On Sept. 15, 1963, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, an event historians call a watershed in the civil-rights movement. What stamped this crime in memory was its raw brutality. Four little girls died in the blast, four girls helping prepare for an upcoming service. Even though 38 years have passed, I can clearly remember the tears of sadness and anger among my family and many others who watched the television coverage and read newspaper accounts.
May 21, 2000 |
Closure. The district attorney who will prosecute two old men indicted in the 1963 church bombing that killed four little girls in Birmingham, Ala., believes their convictions will finally provide closure for everyone touched by the heinous crime. "Anytime you can bring closure to something like this, you want to do it," Jefferson County, Ala., District Attorney David Barber said Wednesday following the arrests of bombing suspects Thomas E. Blanton Jr., 61, and Bobby Frank Cherry, 69. Barber is wrong, of course.
May 19, 2000
Murders going unsolved? Sadly, it happens all the time - to the anguish of victims' families and communities. But the decades-old mystery surrounding the 1963 bombing of a black church in Birmingham, Ala. - where four girls perished in their white Sunday dresses - goes beyond that. It was more than an ache for one group of families, one city with a tortured place in the civil rights struggle. It was an open wound for the nation. Long gone is the Jim Crow South. But dozens of acts of racial violence that marred the rights era remain open cases - with the perpetrators free.