Birmingham Church Bombed

Event: 22

September 15, 1963

September 15th, 1963 white supremacists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama during Sunday services; four young African-American girls (Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14).) were killed in the explosion and 20 others were hurt. Despite Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring words at the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963, violence against blacks in the segregated South continued. The church bombing was the third in 11 days; the federal government had just ordered the integration of Alabama’s school system. Governor George Wallace was in disagreement of desegregation, and Birmingham had one of the strongest and most violent chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. Birmingham became a leading focus of the civil rights movement by the spring of 1963, when Martin Luther King was arrested there for leading supporters of his Southern Christian Leadership Conference in a nonviolent campaign. While in jail, King wrote a letter to local white ministers justifying his decision not to call off the demonstrations local law enforcement officials, led by Birmingham’s police commissioner, Eugene “Bull” Connor. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was published in the national press even as images of police brutality against protesters in Birmingham–including children being attacked by police dogs and knocked off their feet by fire hoses–sent shock waves around the world, helping to build crucial support for the civil rights movement.

Dear Diary,

I think the world is crying right now. Crying at the cruelness of people. I cried too, I layed down on the teddy bear she gave me and cried. Denise McNair was my best friend, she was 11 years old like me. She is the one who gve me the bear. A long time ago when we were little and hung out everyday. We can not do that now though. Her, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley all died on the 15th. They were harmless yet some one murdered them. White supremacists bombed them in there own church, 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham during Sunday services they were killed in the explosion and 20 others injured. I do not understand how people can hate and be so mean. I want those white people to get hurt or put in jail or something to suffer like those people! Then again who am I to have such thoughts of hate and meaness diary?

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