Today we look back and remember the Birmingham Church Bombing that occurred at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15,1963. The three-story all Black Church, had been a rallying point for the Civil Rights Movement which made it a prime target for the Ku Klux Klan. The church was used as a meeting-place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth. Birmingham was a hot bed for violence during the Civil Rights Era. In fact the city had been dubbed with the nickname Bombingham as the city had experienced more than 50 bombings in black institutions and homes since World War I.
Four young girls were killed in the racial attack that took place on that Sunday before Church services, and twenty-two others were injured.
Russel Goldman sites in his article for ABC News:
At a memorial service for the girls, three days after the blast, Martin Luther King Jr., said, “These children — unoffending, innocent, and beautiful — were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.”
A time-line and pictures of the event can be found on CNN U.S.. As stated on Wikipedia “In the early morning of Sunday, September 15, 1963, Bobby Frank Cherry, Thomas Blanton,Herman Frank Cash, and Robert Chambliss, members of United Klans of America, a Ku Klux Klan group, planted a box of dynamite with a time delay under the steps of the church, near the basement. At about 10:22 a.m., twenty-six children were walking into the basement assembly room to prepare for the sermon entitled “The Love That Forgives,” when the bomb exploded.”.
Robert Chambliss, Thomas E. Blanton Jr, Herman Cash, and Bobby Frank Cherry were the men accused of perpetrating the heinous attack. All four were members of the Klan. Although an investigation of the bombing was opened at the time of the event, due to the racial era, not much was done and the case was dropped. Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley reopened the investigation in 1971. He said it took him half a decade to bring charges against suspect Robert Chambliss, because the FBI refused to cooperate for years. The case was then closed again, but then re-opened in 1996 by the FBI due to receiving new evidence.
Chambliss went on trial for murder in 1977. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, in which he actually only served 8 years. He died in 1985, at age 81 in Alabama. Blanton was tried in 2001 and found guilty at age 62 of four counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Cash died in 1994 and was never charged in the case. Cherry was scheduled for trial in April of 2001, but his attorneys argued that he was unfit to stand trial due to being too physically and mentally infirm to stand trial. Circuit Court Judge James Garrett indefinitely postponed proceedings against him. In January 2002, Garrett reversed his earlier ruling and declared Cherry competent to stand trial. He later was sentenced to life in prison and died there in 2004.
On Tuesday, the four girls were posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, a rare honor that requires an act of both houses of Congress. The ceremony came five days before the 50th anniversary of their deaths inside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. The medal will be kept at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The Washington Post reports that the language in the legislation specifically recognized how the children’s deaths marked a turning point in the years-long fight for equal rights for the nation’s African American citizens.
It is very important that we remember history, learn from it and continue to move onward! The Civil Rights Movement and heinous events such as this bombing are apart of the Black Communities History as well as American History. Our nation has come a very long way since then, but have we come far enough? Is there still racism in this country? Yes! Is it as bad as the past, NO! We must however continue to improve on race relations in this country if we are to continue to be the great nation that we are. The only way to do that is to acknowledge our history as a nation (not run from it), as it shows us the way to becoming one great nation instead of a house divided by race and color.
Copyright 2013 The Last Civil Right – All Rights Reserved
What an interesting week we have been having! The 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Had A Dream Speech” has had both Republican and Democrat folks talking! I know I’ve had a lot to say about it as well on my Facebook Page and I’m a little disappointed in our Republican Party and its way of dealing with such a Historical and Monumental event.
I’m sorry, but this doesn’t look like the Republican Party putting this on as a sanctioned Republican event…. This looks like a lot of Black Conservatives who took it upon themselves, who just happen to be registered Republican because they believe in the core values of the party, putting on their own separate MLK 50th Anniversary March on Washington Commemorative Luncheon event…. SMH…. Still “Separate But Equal” in the Republican Party I guess……. Some people will get mad because I put it that way but, sorry folks, I call it as I see it!
Now some of you may ask who was invited to this event or why didn’t I hear about this event. Those are two good questions and I can answer them for you. Everyone should have been invited to an event such as this. The Republican Party obviously dropped the ball here. The Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus obviously knew about the event, yet failed miserably in having the word spread. In fact the Washington Post wrote about it on August 14th. You would think he would have gotten the word out to the entire party! Lord knows, I get a ton of emails from him and his staff in my email. I would have thought he would have said something in all of the email blasts he and his staff does everyday. He and others that knew about the event ahead of time dropped the ball……
In fact he said in his statement to the Washington Post:
When we said we were going to do a luncheon commemorating the March on Washington, we thought maybe since we were in recess that we would get 100 people. We are jammed packed with an overflow room down stairs filled what does that say. What it tells you is that people want our party to fight for the African-American vote.
He actually said he was surprised that so many people showed up for the event…… Gee, I wonder why? Could it be that you didn’t tell very many people about the event Mr. Priebus? I guess you took it upon yourself to think that others would not want to attend an event such as this? I couldn’t even find a link to the event on the GOP website for the event, but they did have a lot of “after the fact” statements and press releases and fluff for the Main Stream Media though…
When it comes to events such as this, the statement and presence should be unified in racial make-up. That’s what the Republican Party says they are, unified right? They don’t care about color right? They aren’t the racist party right? It should have been an all “color” crowd to celebrate this event. This SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A BLACK EVENT AT ALL! We are supposed to be unified as a Party, not separate! This IS NOT just Black History this is AMERICAN HISTORY! The Republican Party as a whole dropped the ball on this!
It gets tough for even us Black Conservatives to sell “Conservatism” to our Community when the color-lines are drawn so clearly by the National Level Party Politicians….. Don’t get me wrong, I am not going to run out and sell my soul to the Democrat Party, this is just a little constructive criticism for the party I’m trying to address, am apart of, and fix. We can fix this…… But the National Level is going to have listen up!
If Reince Priebus is going to say that he is going to reach out to Minorities to join the Republican Party as a leader of the Republican Party, and spend 10 million dollars of the tax payers hard-earned money as they state in this article on The Hill; then we need to start acting like a unified party on events marking History such as this, not this “Separate But Equal” mess that was on full display. People are already questioning the Republican Parties ability to reach the Black Community and writing articles and blogs about it. Mr. Priebus himself seems to be moving from one Minority group to another following the Democrat Parties lead. One minute he’s reaching out to all Minorities, the next he’s just hitting the Hispanic and Latino demographic due to the immigration issue.
People can complain all they want too about the 50th Anniversary March on Washington event that was dominated by the Left if they want too. They can voice the complaint that no one from the Republican Party was invited (which is not true, they all declined their invitations), but that isn’t going to do anything in helping the Republican Party or Conservative Movement. We have one (count them one) Black Senator out of 50, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who was not invited to speak. However, he was sent an invite to attend (as were all 50 members of Congress) according to a spokesperson of the event in an article on Roll Call. The spokesperson also stated in the article that it was the Republican Leadership that was invited to speak at the event as they were trying to make it bipartisan.
Let’s look at this another way. Let’s look at how the Left will spin this. Republicans will only come to events dealing with the Black Community and Black/American History if they are allowed to speak at the events….. Or if Black Republicans are allowed to speak….. Hmmmmmm……….. That’s not looking to bright! It certainly doesn’t show those in the Black Community that we are saying we are trying to reach, that we can put politics aside for a minute and take the time to remember a historic moment in time. Also take into account that the same Republicans that turned down the Democrat March on Washington event, DID NOT show up the RNC Commemorative event as well……
I’m sorry, but the folks at the National Level would know what “Race Relations” was if it stuck its finger up its butt and slapped them in the face! They better start paying attention to those of us that are not on the National Level out in the community working to see how we do it! They can learn a thing or two from us pee-ons as we are already reaching more people than they are on a day-to-day basis. We as “Black Conservative Republicans” can only do so much. The National Level is going to have to get their heads out of their behinds, get with the program, and start working with us here in order to change this! Otherwise they just make us “Black Conservative Republicans” out to be the tokens the Left claims us to be!
If the National Level of the Republican Party keeps going the way they’re going, we are not going to get very far. Sure we can try to tell minorities that things aren’t really like that, that it only looks like that at the National Level, but that excuse only works for so long! I know, I use that excuse all the time! The National Level is making it really hard to get Minorities to join the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party, because of the face it puts on the Party at the National Level for ALL of us…….
Copyright2013 The Last Civil Right – All Rights Reserved