Voices

52 Anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing

Today is the anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, where four little girls, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins, died in an attack orchestrated and carried out by members of the Ku Klux Klan.  An attack, as described by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that was "one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetuated against humanity."  Over 50 years later and just months after the horrific church shootings in Charleston, we, as a nation, still have more work ahead of us.

To commemorate the anniversary, the city of Birmingham is presenting a week of activities called Empowerment Week, where the entire community is asked to focus on “service, kindness and community impact.” At 10:22 a.m. bells will ring in Birmingham at the exact time of the bombing in 1963, followed by a wreath laying at 10:40 a.m.

Birmingham Bombing, by Sylvia Hernandez. Quilt featured in the traveling exhibit, And Still We Rise.

The bombing marked another major turning point of the Civil Rights Movement, which, paired with the assignation of President Kennedy, moved a grieving nation to support the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed into law that summer by President Johnson. Passage of the Voting Rights Act would follow in 1965. The special anniversary exhibition celebrating the Voting Rights Act, Power of the Vote, explores the history of voting rights in America, beginning from the Reconstruction Era to present day. See and experience this powerful exhibition before it closes September 26.  

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs? Click here to plan your visit. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson
Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Related Content: Picture FreedomPower of the Vote.

Image: Victims of the bombing listed clockwise from top left: Addie Mae Collins (aged 14), Cynthia Wesley (aged 14), Carole Robertson (aged 14) and Denise McNair (aged 11).

More authored by Assia:  Connect with History Labor Day Weekend, 50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965,  50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015