16th Street Baptist Church Bombing 50th Anniversary

children

American History TV was LIVE from Birmingham, Alabama, all day on Sunday, September 15th, 2013, for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. The attack – by white supremacists in retaliation for the integration of Birmingham’s public schools — killed four African American girls and injured more than 20 others. The murders gained national attention and helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Earlier in 1963, Birmingham had been the site of civil rights protests led by Martin Luther King Jr., including marches by school children which local officials used dogs and water cannons to quell.

For additional information: http://www.c-span.org/History/Events/LIVE–16th-Street-Baptist-Church-Bombing-50th-Anniversary/10737441295/

Not a Happy Anniversary

Just read an article in regards to the 50th anniversary of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. For those who do not remember, or were too young to be around for this horrific incident, please let me explain. On September 15, 1963 members of the Ku Klux Klan perpetuated one of the worst bombings, in my opinion, of the Civil Rights’ era, which resulted in the deaths of six children, four girls and two boys. Their names follow; Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, and Cynthia Wesley. Also killed were Virgil Ware and Johnny Robinson. Both were shot-to-death during unrest following the bombing.

I was eight years old, at the time, living in New Haven, Connecticut. I spent twenty-five years living in the McConaughy Terrace housing development, aka the Projects. There was not much talk of the bombing, or at least I do not remember conversations pertaining to the bombing. It was not until middle school, 1969-1970, when discussions popped up in regards to the Civil Rights’ movement. Remember the movement was still going strong at that time. It was both an exciting and scary time in history!

When I started thinking of the bombing, and the ensuing deaths of the children; I began asking myself questions. Why blow up four children? How could someone hate anyone that much to commit such a horrible crime? Did anyone ever think of what dreams have not been realized by these children or their grandchildren because they died too early? How many future doctors, lawyers, teachers, presidents, etc.? How does anyone come to hate someone because of the color of their skin?

Over the years, I have come to understand hate/prejudice is a learned behavior. Everything from the color of your skin; your sexual orientation; the religion anyone chooses to practice, etc. If anyone hates someone because of these or anything similar; it is a learned behavior. I do not remember anyone born with a hate/prejudice gene!

Have we come far as a nation since those horrible times in history? I think we have, but I also think we have more to accomplish. In my opinion, we are not there yet. We all have to sit down and have a realistic discussion in regards to what is happening in the country today; everyone needs to participate! In closing, my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who lost their lives to this senseless act of violence all because someone learned how to hate!

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