The of Birmingham decided to condemn the building

The African-American Civil Rights movement were emotional and trying times. It symbolized the ending of segregation and prejudice opinions of races. Many protests were held to help bring the community the social awareness they deserved. However, Some protests were not for the benefit of the African Americans and were more attacks toward African Americans.   September 15, 1963 was a typical Sunday morning. African American families were waking up and getting ready to go to the 16th Street Baptist Church. None of them probably thought on the way that they should turn around because of fear or sitting in the pews inside of the church would be a mistake.  No one suspected anything out of the ordinary to happen, maybe communion or an extra hymn during worship service but not a bombing. Let’s backtrack for a second to before the bombing. In the year 1873, The First Colored Baptist Church of Birmingham was founded and was held in the locations of 12th Street and Fourth Avenue North. In 1880, the church moved to its now current place on 16th Street. When the new building was under construction Pastor William R. Pettiford was the supervisor. Pettiford was the pastor of the church for 21 years. In 1908 the city of Birmingham decided to condemn the building and it was destroyed and a new building was built in its place. In the 60s Birmingham was not considered a safe place to live. At one point it was called “Bombingham”. Most people were in sunday school and some were going to sit for the service at 11am when the bombing happened. Sticks of dynamite were planted underneath some stairs near a room where 25 children were. It was Youth Day and the children were getting ready to perform with the choir for service. Of those children there were 4 that were killed. These girls were practicing a special song the four of them were supposed to sing. However, this was never able to happen.Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley were the four little girls that lost their lives in this brutal attack. Addie Mae Collins was 14, the daughter of Julius and Alice Collins and had six siblings.  One of her sisters was injured in the bombing and lost an eye. The youngest of the four was Denise McNair, she was only 11. Her parents were Chris and Maxine McNair and she had no siblings. After McNair passed her parents had two daughters. The daughter of Alvin and Alpha Robertson was Carole Robertson. She had an older sister and brother. Carole got her interest for music from her father, who was an educator but also had a strong passion for music she was not only a member to the choir at her church but also to her school. Cynthia Wesley was the adopted daughter to Claude and Gertrude Wesley and had no siblings. President, John F. Kennedy, said “If these cruel and tragic events can only awaken that city and state- if they can only awaken this entire nation to a realization of the folly of racial injustice and hatred and violence, then it is not too late for all concerned to unite in steps toward peaceful progress before more lives are lost.”. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held a press conference in Birmingham on the same day as JFK’s speech and claimed that the US Army “ought to come to Birmingham and take over this city and run it”. In 1965 suspects were named: Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, and Robert Chambliss. All belonged to the club of the Ku Klux Klan. Due to lack of physical evidence and witnesses not saying much, charges were not filed. However, in 1977 Robert Chambliss was found guilty with four counts of first-degree murder. It is claimed that he told people that he had  “enough stuff put away to flatten half of Birmingham”. Thomas Blanton was found guilty to first-degree murder in 2001. He was also sentenced to four life terms. This was all possible due to the discovery of new evidence and reopened the case in 1997. Then, in 2002 Bobby Frank Cherry is also found guilty of first degree murder and was sentenced to four life terms as well. Chambliss died in prison in 1985 and Cherry died in prison in 2004. Blanton is the only one still alive and is up for parole in 2021. It is ironic to think that the sermon that the girls had been focusing on on the Sunday they were killed was titled “The Love that Forgives”. In 2006 a “national historic landmark” was the title given to 16th Street Baptist Church. Each of the four girls killed were awarded Congressional Gold medals.  There has been a bronze and steal statue made of the four girls. It is located in Kelly Ingram Park, on the corner of Sixteenth Street North and Sixth Avenue North.