By Jueseppi B.
I want to start this Black History Moment off a little differently. There is a dynamic young Black lady named Victoria Pannell whom I met thru Twitter two years ago. She is what I would wish my daughter was, if I had a daughter. Ms. Victoria has a blog: COREMAG, you’d be doing yourself a great joy to stop by and visit her.
Ms. Victoria is a 14 year old activist, fighter for youth and champion of justice. Her mission now is restitution for Ms. Sarah Collins Rudolph.
The fifth little girl who was severely injured in the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing Deserves Restitution…NOW!
Because Love Wins: Sarah Collins Rudolph deserves compensation from the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama for the rabid climate of hatred and violence its leaders fostered and advocated throughout the civil rights era. Sarah Collins Rudolph is the fifth little girl who was injured in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four little girls readying for Sunday school.
Her sister was killed in the bombing. She lost an eye, suffered severe cuts throughout her body, and has endured years of surgery and medical problems as a result of the bombing –sometimes without health insurance- – and has lived in poverty for the past 50 years. She has been ignored and given no recognition of the many losses she has had to endure as a result of this horrendous hate crime. It is shameful that she has been cast aside.
Many historians mark this national tragedy as the tipping point in the Civil Rights Movement; the moment in which the country understood the extent of segregationist violence. This was an act of homegrown governmental sanctioned terrorism.
Other victims of terrorist acts have access to reparations, endowments, and/ or victim funds to help them recover and yet Sarah Collins Rudolph has had to struggle alone and forgotten for 50 years. It is time to act! Will you please sign this petition to present to the Birmingham city council to provide her with restitution, and pay her past, present and future medical bills. We are petitioning the White House and the Justice Department to provide reparation and/ or restorative funds to Sarah and her family.
Please Sign This Petition & send this viral by sharing on facebook, twitter, email, etc. Thank you.
Throughout the month Of February, TheObamaCrat™ will post a daily series called The Black History Moment Series. Each day for 28 days of this historic month you will be given the food of Black History to satisfy your hunger for knowledge.
The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing.
At 10:22 a.m. on the morning of September 15, 1963, some 200 church members were in the building–many attending Sunday school classes before the start of the 11 am service–when the bomb detonated on the church’s east side, spraying mortar and bricks from the front of the church and caving in its interior walls. Most parishioners were able to evacuate the building as it filled with smoke, but the bodies of four young girls (14-year-old Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson and 11-year-old Denise McNair) were found beneath the rubble in a basement restroom. Ten-year-old Sarah Collins, who was also in the restroom at the time of the explosion, lost her right eye, and more than 20 other people were injured in the blast.
The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15 was the third bombing in 11 days, after a federal court order had come down mandating the integration of Alabama’s school system. In the aftermath of the bombing, thousands of angry black protesters gathered at the scene of the bombing. When Governor Wallace sent police and state troopers to break the protests up, violence broke out across the city; a number of protesters were arrested, and two young African American men were killed (one by police) before the National Guard was called in to restore order. King later spoke before 8,000 people at the funeral for three of the girls (the family of the fourth girl held a smaller private service), fueling the public outrage now mounting across the country.
Even though the legal system was slow to provide justice, the effect of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church was immediate and significant. Outrage over the death of the four innocent girls helped build increased support behind the continuing struggle to end segregation–support that would help lead to the passage of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In that important sense, the bombing’s impact was exactly the opposite of what its perpetrators had intended.
(CNN) — Here’s a look at what you need to know about the Birmingham, Alabama church bombing that killed four African-American girls during church services in 1963.
September 15, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the bombing.
September 15, 1963 – A bomb blast at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, kills four African-American girls during church services. At least 14 others are injured in the explosion.
Three former Ku Klux Klan members are convicted of murder for the bombing.
Addie Mae Collins, 14
Denise McNair, 11
Carole Robertson, 14
Cynthia Wesley, 14
September 15, 1963 – Four girls are killed and 14 injured in a bomb blast at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
Riots break out, and two African-American boys, Virgil Ware, 13, and Johnny Robinson, 16, are also killed. In all, at least 20 people are injured from the initial bombing and the ensuing riots.
Alabama Governor George Wallace sends 500 National Guardsmen and 300 state troopers to the city. The next day, they are joined by 500 police officers and 150 sheriffs’ deputies.
September 16, 1963 – President John F. Kennedy responds by saying, “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.”
September 16, 1963 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holds a press conference in Birmingham, saying that the U.S. Army “ought to come to Birmingham and take over this city and run it.”
1965 – Suspects emerge: Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton, Robert Chambliss, and Herman Frank Cash, all Ku Klux Clan members. Witnesses are reluctant to talk and physical evidence is lacking so charges are not filed.
1976 – 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 15, 1977 – On the second day of the trial, Chambliss’s niece, Elizabeth Cobb, testifies that before the bombing, Chambliss confided to her that he had “enough stuff put away to flatten half of Birmingham.”
November 18, 1977 – Robert Chambliss is convicted of first-degree murder in connection with the bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment.
1985 – Chambliss dies in prison.
1994 – Herman Frank Cash dies without being charged in the bombing.
July 1997 – The case is reopened by the FBI, citing new evidence.
May 16, 2000 – A grand jury in Alabama indicts former Klansmen Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton with eight counts each of first-degree murder – four counts of intentional murder and four of murder with universal malice.
May 1, 2001 – Thomas Blanton is found guilty of first-degree murder and is sentenced to four life terms.
November 8, 2004 – Cherry dies in prison.
February 20, 2006 – The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church is declared a national historic landmark.
September 12, 2013 – 50 years after the bombing, all four girls who died are awarded Congressional Gold Medals.
September 14, 2013 – A bronze and steel statue of the four girls is unveiled. It is located at Kelly Ingram Park, on the corner of Sixteenth Street North and Sixth Avenue North.
Thank you CNN.
Birmingham, Alabama, and the Civil Rights
Movement in 1963
The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing
The Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was used as a meeting-place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy and Fred Shutterworth. Tensions became high when the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) became involved in a campaign to register African American to vote in Birmingham.
On Sunday, 15th September, 1963, a white man was seen getting out of a white and turquoise Chevrolet car and placing a box under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Soon afterwards, at 10.22 a.m., the bomb exploded killing Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14). The four girls had been attending Sunday school classes at the church. Twenty-three other people were also hurt by the blast.
Civil rights activists blamed George Wallace, the Governor of Alabama, for the killings. Only a week before the bombing he had told the New York Times that to stop integration Alabama needed a “few first-class funerals.”
Haven to the South’s most violent Ku Klux Klan chapter, Birmingham was probably the most segregated city in the country. Dozens of unsolved bombings and police killings had terrorized the black community since World War II. Yet King foresaw that “the vulnerability of Birmingham at the cash register would provide the leverage to gain a breakthrough in the toughest city in the South.”
Wyatt Tee Walker, who planned the crusade, said that before Birmingham “we had been trying to win the hearts of white Southerners, and that was a mistake, a misjudgement. We realized that you have to hit them in the pocket.” Birmingham offered the perfect adversary in Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor, who provided dramatic brutality for an international audience. SCLC’s [Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization founded in 1957] goal was to create a political morality play so compelling that the Kennedv administration would be forced to intervene: “The key to everything,” King observed, “is federal commitment.”
The movement initially found it hard to recruit supporters, with black citizens reluctant and Birmingham police restrained. Slapped with an injunction to cease the demonstrations, King decided to go to jail himself. During his confinement, King penned “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” an eloquent critique of “the white moderate who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice” and a work included in many composition and literature courses.
The breakthrough came when SCLC’s James Bevel organized thousands of black school children to march in Birmingham. Police used school buses to arrest hundreds of children who poured into the streets each day. Lacking jail space, “Bull” Connor used dogs and firehoses to disperse the crowds. Images of vicious dogs and police brutality emblazoned front pages and television screens around the world. As in Montgomery, King grasped the international implications of SCLC’s strategy. The nation was ‘battling for the minds and the hearts of men in Asia and Africa,” he said, “and they aren’t gonna respect the United States of America if she deprives men and women of the basic rights of life because of the color of their skin.”
President Kennedy lobbied Birmingham’s white business community to reach an agreement. On 10 May local white business leaders consented to desegregate public facilities, but the details of the accord mattered less than the symbolic triumph. Kennedy pledged to preserve this mediated halt to “a spectacle which was seriously damaging the reputation of both Birmingham and the country.”
The next day, however, bombs exploded at King’s headquarters and at his brother’s home. Violent uprisings followed, as poor blacks who had little commitment to nonviolence ravaged nine blocks of Birmingham. Rocks and bottles rained on Alabama state troopers who attacked black citizens in the streets. The violence threatened to mar SCLC’s victory but also helped cement White House support for civil rights. President Kennedy feared that black Southerners might become “uncontrollable” if reforms were not negotiated. It was one of the enduring ironies of the civil fights movement that the threat of violence was so critical to the success of nonviolence.
Across the South, the triumph in Birmingham inspired similar campaigns; in a ten-week period, at least 758 racial demonstrations in 186 cities sparked 14,733 arrests. Eager to compete with SCLC, the national NAACP pressed Medgar Evers to launch demonstrations in Jackson, Mississippi, On 11 June President Kennedy made a historic address on national television, describing civil rights as “a moral issue” and endorsing federal civil rights legislation. Later that night, a member of the White Citizen’s Council assassinated Medgar Evers.
Tragedy and triumph marked the summer of 1963. As A. Philip Randolph sought to fulfill his vision of a march on the capitol for jobs, King convinced him to shift the focus to civil rights. Joining with leaders from SCLC, SNCC, the Urban League, and the NAACP, Randolph chose Bayard Rustin as march organizer. Kennedy endorsed the march, hoping to gain support for the pending civil rights bill. On 28 August about 250,000 rallied in the most memorable mass demonstration in American history. King’s “I Have a Dream” oration would endure as a historical emblem of nonviolent direct action.
Prominent in the crowd was writer James Baldwin, widely regarded as a black spokesperson, especially since the 1962 publication of his influential work, The Fire Next Time. Malcolm X’s denunciation of the event as the “farce on Washington” and sharp differences over the censorship of a speech by SNCC’s John Lewis would later seem to foreshadow the fragmentation of the movement. But against the lengthening shadow of political violence and racial division–the dynamite murder of four black children at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham two weeks later and the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22–the march gleamed as the apex of interracial liberalism. Toni Morrison used the bombing of the church as part of the rationale for her characters forming a black vigilante group in Song of Solomon.
|16th Street Baptist Church bombing|
The four girls killed in
(Clockwise from top
left, Addie Mae Collins,
and Denise McNair)
|Location||16th Street Baptist Church,|
10:22 a.m. (UTC-5)
|Attack type||Church bombing, mass murder,|
|Assailants||Robert Chambliss, Herman Cash,|
|Motive||Racist hate crime|
President Honors 1963 Church Bombing Victims With Congressional Gold Medals
On Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama (seated center) signed a bill effectively awarding the four young victims of the tragic 1963 Birmingham church bombing with the Congressional Gold Medal.
With Alabama representatives Terri Sewell, a Democrat, and Spencer Bachus, a Republican, leading the effort, the House swung in favor last month to posthumously award the deceased, which was a major step in properly upholding the legacy of the bombing victims.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest award given to civilians, and includes a list of recipients, such as the many victims of the September 11th attacks in Washington and New York. The signing took place at the White House, after the President returned from Annapolis, where he delivered a commencement speech at the Naval Academy.
Several family members of the girls who were killed were in attendance in addition to members of Congress at the time of the signing.
Klan Bombing of Birmingham Church 1963
4 DEAD Little BLACK Girls
Long Forgotten, 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Survivor Speaks Out
Sarah Collins Rudolph was with her sister Addie Mae Collins when a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The 1963 bombing killed her sister and three other girls, and Collins Rudolph was seriously injured in the attack.
Signs of 1963 are everywhere in Birmingham, Ala., these days. The city is commemorating the 51st anniversary of the landmark civil rights events of that year: the children who marched until police turned fire hoses and dogs on them; Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”; and the September bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Washington has awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for the girls who were murdered in the bombing, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Denise McNair and Addie Mae Collins — the highest civilian honor Congress can bestow. But there was another victim that day — a fifth girl, who survived the attack.
That girl, Sarah Collins Rudolph, now lives in a modest ranch-style house just north of Birmingham. She remembers the bombing like it was yesterday.
“I was standing there, just standing there bleeding,” Rudolph, now 62, recalls. “And somebody came and they just picked me up and took me out through the hole and put me in [an] ambulance.”
Rudolph was just 12 when her older sister Addie Mae died in the blast. Rudolph was sprayed with glass, lost an eye and was hospitalized for months. Then, she says, she was told to put it all behind her — but she can’t.
“I still shake. I still jump when I hear loud sounds,” Collins says. “Every day I think about it, just looking in the mirror and seeing the scars on my face. I’m reminded of it every day.”
The scars are physical, mental and financial. Medical bills that have mounted over the years as Collins worked in factories and cleaning houses — mostly without health insurance. She has insurance now through her husband, George, but there are still out-of-pocket medical expenses.
In October, Rudolph went before the Birmingham City Council to ask for help. Her husband says the city ignored her.
“If you look back at the people in the trade towers, each one of those victims got paid. The families, they got paid,” George Rudolph says. “But my wife, she didn’t get anything. She should get compensated.”
Birmingham Mayor William Bell says he’s not insensitive. He appreciates the trauma Sarah Rudolph has been through. But, he says, the city cannot just write her a check.
“When you say ‘reparation,’ that puts a whole different legal terminology in place that we’re not capable — nor are we legally obligated — to do,” Bell says.
Dorothy Inman-Johnson knows the dilemma from both sides. As a teenager, she participated in the children’s marches in Birmingham. And as an adult, she became the first black female mayor of Tallahassee, Fla.
“But the city could have taken the lead in creating some kind of foundation or fund that other people could contribute to that would have helped her in some way,” Inman-Johnson says. “It would have been an important statement.”
But that hasn’t happened — and it doesn’t seem like it will. Over the past 50 years, Rudolph has been left out of many events commemorating the tragedy at 16th Street Baptist Church. Even many longtime Birmingham residents didn’t know her story until recently.
As the eyes of the world are trained on Birmingham this year, Rudolph says she’ll watch from the comfort of her home. It’s all she feels up to, she says, after 50 years forgotten.
Thank you NPR.
Black History Month 2014 Presents: Celebrating Black History Month; The Black History Moment Series, #1 thru #25….
In Case You Missed This Series….Black History Month 2014 Presents: Celebrating Black History Month; The Black History Moment Series.