“Their bodies were stacked up on top of each other like bales of hay from the crumbling ruins left by the dynamiting,” remembers a reporter.
“They were children,” reported the Birmingham World, “They were victims of cruel madness, … vile bigotry and … deadly hate.”
The church bombing was one of forty-one racially motivated bombings in
Two more African-American children died that evening, when “all
At Johnnie’s funeral, the Reverend A. L. Woods said: “Not only are we here for the funeral of Johnnie Robinson, but I think we can say we are here for the funeral of
Fortunately, Woods’s words did not prove to be prophetic. The violent deaths of four girls suddenly opened the eyes of a city and a nation. The bombing became pivotal in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And
Today, the good news is that the city is thriving. It is a beautiful peace-loving city, where African-Americans teach at colleges and graduate schools, lead the city in its cutting-edge medical technology, and fill important leadership positions in every area of politics, industry, and business.
For further reading and information:
Learn more about the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute .
“Killers of the Innocents ,”
Arthur Osgood, “ Racial Tension Mounts in Birmingham after Four Killed in Church Bombing ,” The
Robert Gordon, “ Birmingham Pays Homage to Slain Teen-Age Boys ,”
Kevin Sack, “ Ex-Klansman Is Found Guilty in ’63 Bombing ,” New York Times,
Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness (Doubleday, 2000), 151.
Tim Stafford, “ Birmingham, 1963 ,” Books & Culture, July/August 2001.
James C. Cobb, “ No ‘Closure’ ,” Wall Street Journal,
Dara Fisk-Ekanger, “ The Day Racism Hit Home ,” Boundless,
“How a Former Klansman Rejected Racism and Came to Christ ”—Rev. Thomas A. Tarrants, III, President of the C.S. Lewis Institute, gave this testimony at a recent Prison Fellowship banquet. He was a former Klansman who nearly died from multiple bullet wounds when he was arrested. In prison he came to Christ and now speaks out against racism and for the superiority of the Christian worldview.
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