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16th Street Church Birmingham Bombing •

Sept. 15th ,1963

Killed four girls

Addie Mae Collins, 14, Denise McNair, 11, Carole Robertson, 14 and Cynthia Wesley, 14.

Birmingham was segregated in schools and churches

By the Ku Klux Klan

Joiner, Lottie L.. "4 Little Girls: The Bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church." The Bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Crisis Publications Inc., n.d. Web. 14 May 2014. < %40sessionmgr4001&hid=4101&bdata=JnNpdGU9c3JjLWxpdmU%3d#db=ulh&AN=89083978>.

10:22 on Sunday morning

An act of terrorism

People felt alone and unprotected

It is still something no one will forget to this day

MLK speaks at the funeral of the four girls who died

17 others were injured

Two and a half weeks after MLK “I have a dream” speech

Meacham, Jon. "Birmingham Resurrected." Birmingham Resurrected. Time Inc., 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 14 May 2014. < %3d#db=khh&AN=90217138>.

15 sticks of dynamite was placed in the basement

“Alabama's governor, George Wallace, made preserving racial segregation one of the central goals of his administration, and Birmingham had one of the most violent and lawless chapters of the Ku Klux Klan”

A well-known Klan member Robert Chambliss was charged with murder and with buying 122 sticks of dynamite

Received a 6 month jail sentence and 100 dollar fine

“After Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley reopened the case, Chambliss was convicted in 1977 and sentenced to life in prison.”

“Although a subsequent FBI investigation identified three other men--Bobby Frank Cherry, Herman Cash and Thomas E. Blanton, Jr.--as having helped Chambliss commit the crime, it was later revealed that FBI chairman J. Edgar Hoover blocked their prosecution and shut down the investigation without filing charges in 1968”

Tried to prosecute other three men for decades

Cash died in 1994

Cherry and Blanton were arrested and charged in 2000

Blanton got life in prison

Cherry’s trial was delayed after judges said he was mentally unfit for trial

It was later reversed and Cherry was sentenced to life in 2002

Meacham, Jon. "Birmingham Resurrected." Birmingham Resurrected. Time Inc., 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 14 May 2014. < %3d#db=khh&AN=90217138>. Info graphic September 15, 1963 -- A dynamite bomb explodes at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing 11-year-old Carol Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins and Carole Robertson. 1965 -- Birmingham FBI agents recommend that at least four suspects be charged with the bombing. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover blocks the prosecution of the suspects, saying the chance of winning a conviction was "remote." 1968 -- Federal authorities pull out of the investigation without charges being filed. 1971 -- Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley reopens the case. September 26, 1977 -- Robert Chambliss, 73, a retired auto mechanic and former Ku Klux Klan member, is indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on four counts of first-degree murder.

November 18, 1977-- Chambliss is convicted of first-degree murder in connection with Carol's death and sentenced to life imprisonment. 1980 -- Jefferson County's district attorney reopens the case after a U.S. Justice Department report found that Hoover had blocked evidence that prosecutors could have used. No additional charges are filed. October 29, 1985 -- Chambliss dies of natural causes at age 81 without ever publicly admitting any role in the bombing. October, 1988 -- Federal and state prosecutors reopen their investigation into the church bombing after Gary A. Tucker, a former bus driver dying of cancer, said he helped set the bomb. No new charges are filed. July 10, 1997 -- The FBI reopens its investigation into the bombing after a secret yearlong review. May 4, 2000 -- A lawyer for longtime bombing suspect Bobby Frank Cherry says his client rejected a deal in which he would receive probation if he pleaded guilty to transporting explosives over state lines. Cherry, in jail in Texas on charges of raping his stepdaughter in 1971, continues to deny any involvement in the bombing. May 17, 2000 -- Former Ku Klux Klan members Cherry and Thomas Blanton Jr. surrender to authorities after a Jefferson County, Alabama, grand jury indicts them on first-degree murder charges in connection with the 1963 bombing. April 2, 2001 -- A judge rejects a request by lawyers for Blanton and Cherry to move the trial out of Birmingham. The defense argues that pretrial publicity and the emotional nature of the case warrant a change of venue. The men face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. May 1, 2001 -- Blanton is found guilty of first-degree murder and is sentenced to four life terms. May 22, 2002 -- Cherry is found guilty and given a sentence of four life terms.


Staff, findingDulcinea . "On This Day: Four Girls Killed in Birmingham Church Bombing." On This Day: Four Girls Killed in Birmingham Church Bombing. Dulcinea Media, Inc., n.d. Web. 16 May 2014. <>.

16th street church birmingham bombing  


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