Ala. church marks 48th anniversary of bombing that killed 4 girls early in civil rights era

| September 15, 2011

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Members of an Alabama church that was bombed early in the civil rights movement observed the 48th anniversary of the attack Thursday by dedicating a stone marker at the site of the blast that killed four black girls.

Maxine McNair, the mother of one of the young victims at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, joined hands with others as a crowd sang “We Shall Overcome” at the dedication. Bells tolled, the girls’ names were read out loud and a group of about 100 people went outside to view a stone tablet etched with the names of the victims and a Bible verse. The marker was erected along an outside wall at the spot where the powerful explosive was planted.

Church spokeswoman Carolyn McKinstry said tens of thousands of visitors stop each year at the church and often ask where the bomb was placed. The girls’ deaths shocked the nation and came to symbolize the depth of racial animosities in the South at the time of the nascent civil rights movement of the 1960s.

“Not a day goes by that we don’t have people coming by to ask,” said McKinstry, a childhood friend of the slain girls.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/ala-church-marks-48th-anniversary-of-bombing-that-killed-4-girls-early-in-civil-rights-era/2011/09/15/gIQAfbKAVK_story.html

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