On September 15, less than three weeks after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a dynamite bomb planted by Klansmen explodes inside 16th Street Baptist Church, killing four young girls: Addie Mae Collins (14), Denise McNair (11), Carole Robertson (14), and Cynthia Wesley (14). More than 20 others are injured in the attack, timed to occur during a “Youth Day” tribute to the part of local young people in the Birmingham Campaign.
It is the city’s 28th racial bombing. Justice in the case, recounted in Spike Lee’s 1997 film “4 Little Girls” comes only much later. After the FBI provides long-concealed evidence, Robert Chambliss is convicted of murder in 1977; Thomas Blanton in 2001; and, Bobby Frank Cherry, in 2002. (The fourth bomber, Herman Cash, died in 1994 without ever being indicted.)