The Birmingham Church Bombing Essay

847 Words Aug 7th, 2013 4 Pages
The Bermingham Church Bombing
By: Chentel Hinton

Chentel Hinton
English 003
Research Paper
Tuzah Garner M.Ed.
Burmingham Church Bombing Even as the inspiring words of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech rang out from the Lincoln Memorial during the historic march on Washington in August of 1963; racial relations in the segregated South were marked by continued acts of violence and inequality. On September 15th a bomb exploded before Sunday Morning services at the 16th street Baptist in Burmington, Alabama- a church with a predominantly black congregation that served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders. Four young girls, aged 11 to 14, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie
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A Milwaukee Sentinel editorial opined, “For the rest of the nation, the Birmingham church bombing should serve to goad the conscience. The deaths…in a sense are on the hands of each of us.”
The city of Birmingham initially offered a $52,000 reward for the arrest of the bombers. Governor George Wallace, an outspoken segregationist, offered an additional $5,000. However, civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wired Wallace that "the blood of four little children ... is on your hands. Your irresponsible and misguided actions have created in Birmingham and Alabama the atmosphere that has induced continued violence and now murder."
Following the tragic event, white strangers visited the grieving families to express their sorrow. At the funeral for three of the girls (one family preferred a separate, private funeral), Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about life being "as hard as crucible steel." More than 8,000 mourners, including 800 clergymen of all races, attended the service. No city officials attended. The bombing continued to increase worldwide sympathy for the civil rights cause. On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ensuring equal rights of African Americans before the law.
FBI investigations gathered evidence pointing to four suspects: Robert Chambliss, Thomas E. Blanton Jr, Herman Cash, and Bobby Frank Cherry. According to a later

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