1963 16th street baptist church bombing

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A church in Birmingham is marking the anniversary of a deadly Ku Klux Klan bombing that killed four black girls in 1963.

The 16th Street Baptist Church planned to hold a service Monday to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the blast.

Bells will toll at 10:22 a.m., the approximate time the bomb went off on a Sunday morning at the church.

The blast killed four girls. It became an important symbol of the depth of racial hatred in the South during the civil rights era.

Four Ku Klux Klansmen were convicted in the bombing, and one remains in prison.

Ryan Vasquez

If you'd like to hear more of Alabama Public Radio's international award winning coverage of the civil rights movement, click at the bottom of the page. Pat D.

Let’s put you in the position of a being black person living in the South during the Civil Rights Movement.

“If you picked up a white newspaper you as a black person didn’t exist,” says Craig Flournoy.

Flournoy is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and professor of journalism at Southern Methodist University.

Wikimedia Commons

Members of Congress are honoring four black girls at the Alabama church where they died in a Ku Klux Klan bombing 50 years ago.

About a dozen members of Congress applauded families of the girls during a commemoration Friday at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia recalled crying at the sight of the church after the blast. The Alabama native was a civil rights organizer at the time.

A bomb detonated outside the church on Sept. 15, 1963, killing the children.

Ryan Vasquez/APR News

Birmingham is beginning five days of events linked to the 50th anniversary of the church bombing that killed four black girls in 1963.

   Thousands of volunteers are expected to participate in a day of service on Wednesday in the city.

   A memorial commemorating the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 also is planned in a downtown park, followed by musical acts and speakers.

   The events are the first of days of activities leading up to the anniversary of the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church on Sunday.

Hands On Birmingham

The city of Birmingham is planning five days of events with political leaders, artists and ordinary citizens to observe the 50th anniversary of a church bombing that killed four black girls in 1963.

Attorney General Eric Holder, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, director Spike Lee and actor Jamie Foxx are among those participating in what's being called "Empowerment Week."

Events begin Wednesday and continue through Sunday, the anniversary of the bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church on Sept. 15, 1963.

Roger Arvid Anderson

A memorial to four girls killed in a racist church bombing in Birmingham 50 years ago is headed to Alabama from California.

   A sculpture of the bombing victims is being shipped by truck from where it was created at the Mussi Artworks Foundry in Berkeley, Calif.

   It's scheduled to begin the trek eastward on Wednesday, and the sculpture is supposed to arrive in Alabama by next week.

   The piece will be installed and unveiled Sept. 14 at a downtown park near the scene of the bombing.

http://www.fourspirits1963.com/ / Four Spirits Inc.

Planners of a memorial to honor the four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham say they are nearing their goal of raising $250,000.

Four Spirits Inc. on Sunday announced that collections and commitments for the design, construction and installation of the project have surpassed $200,000. Four Spirits Inc. is a nonprofit organization formed to collect money and establish the memorial.


A former Alabama politician whose daughter died in a racist church bombing in 1963 has been released from a prison medical facility after a judge sided with an Obama administration call to free him.

   Peggy Sanford is a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney in Birmingham. She said that Chris McNair was released from prison hours after U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith issued her ruling.

   The U.S. Justice Department sought the release of the 87-year-old McNair on grounds of compassion.

Ryan Vasquez

September 15th, 1963 started off just like any other Sunday for Barbara Cross with morning Sunday school class down in the basement of 16th Street Baptist Church.

“Our Sunday school lesson that day was “A Love That Forgives” I’ll never forget that as long as I live,” says Cross. “In my class particular we discussed the scripture from Matthew the fifth chapter talking about agape love the godly type of love and agape is the Greek word for godly love.”


Actor Jamie Foxx will host a concert next month in Birmingham to help mark the city's role in the civil rights movement.

   The BBVA Concert for Human Rights will be held on Sept. 14, the eve of the 50th anniversary of the deadly bombing of Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

   The show will include singer-songwriter Jill Scott and R&B performer Charlie Wilson.

   Foxx says in a statement he is looking forward to participating in the event, which will be held at the BJCC Arena.


The city of Birmingham says more than 100 companies, churches and other groups have signed on to sponsor an event coinciding with the 50th anniversary of a church bombing that killed four black girls.

   The city's "Empowerment Week" is scheduled for Sept. 11-15, and groups have pledged more than $1 million to make it happen.

   The event will include a citywide day of service and panel discussions on the city's progress in the last half-century.


If you'd like to hear more of Alabama Public Radio's award winning work on the civil rights movement, click below. APR's civil rights coverage is international in scope. In January of 2016, we participated in an international journalism exchange program. That's where we first met Ousmane Sagara of the West African nation of Mali. He explained to me how there are roads and parks named for Martin Luther King, junior. That prompted me, a year later, to invite him to take part in APR series and documentary on King's connection to Alabama. That material aired around the 50th anniversary of Dr.


President Barrack Obama plans to sign a bill Friday that awards the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to the four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church.

   Alabama Reps. Terri Sewell and Spencer Bachus sponsored the bill, which received final approval May 9. Sewell told al.com (http://bit.ly/Z0FxeP ) that some members of Alabama's congressional delegation will attend the signing ceremony at 12:15 p.m. Friday.

   Also planning to attend are some family members of the four girls killed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.