Max Fleishman

The long fight for justice after 1963’s Birmingham church bombing: A photo timeline

The battle sparked by the bombing spanned five decades.

 

Deron Dalton

Tech

Published Sep 15, 2015   Updated May 27, 2021, 11:39 pm CDT

Tuesday marks the 52nd anniversary of a major act of terrorism on U.S. soil: the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, which killed four African-American girls.

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The U.S. has a long history of violence against black churches. But few acts have resonated like Birmingham. 

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On Sept. 15, 1963, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the bomb went off. The four girls, 11-year-old Carol Denise McNair and 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, were all killed before Sunday service at 16th Street Baptist, a place where civil rights leaders frequently met.

That prompted a legal battle that would span five decades, which played outside the larger struggle for African-Americans’ civil rights. Here’s a timeline of the events that followed the tragedy:

Birmingham Church Bombing Aftermath

Illustration by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Sep 15, 2015, 6:19 pm CDT