1963 September 15

“Bombingham”: Birmingham Church Bomb Kills Four African American Girls


Four African American girls were killed in the Birmingham, Alabama, on this day by a bomb placed at the 16th Street Baptist Church. The bombing was one of many that gave the city the nickname “Bombingham.” The four girls killed on this day were Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair.The bombing and the murders are the subject of Spike Lee’s 1997 film 4 Little Girls.

The day following the bombing, September 16, 1963, a local white attorney named Charles Morgan spoke about against the racist violence. He and his family were immediately retaliated against, his law practice evaporated, and they quickly left town. Morgan wrote a book about the experience, A Time to Speak. He then became a lawyer for the ACLU, in charge of its Southern Regional Office. Among many important civil liberties cases, he argued Reynolds v. Sims, which on June 15, 1964 established the principle of one-person, one vote for legislative districting.

Fourteen years after the bombing, Robert “’Dynamite Bob”’ Chambliss was convicted of the crime on Nov. 18, 1977. Thomas Blanton Jr was convicted in 2001, and Bobby Frank Cherry was convicted in 2002.

See the Spike Lee Documentary: 4 Little Girls (1997)

Watch a short documentary on “Bombingham”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-MuWDsv5pg

Learn more: Diane McWhorter, Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution (2001)

Hear Joan Baez sing “Birmingham Sunday”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ0y-vO9QLE

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!