ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF BIRMINGHAM CHURCH BOMBING, IT'S STILL A CONVERSATION WE ARE HAVING
Birmingham, Alabama (JFK+50) Yesterday, September 15, 2016 marked the 53rd anniversary of the bombing at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church here in Birmingham which resulted in the deaths of four black girls.
At 10:22 local time, the exact time of the explosion, the church bells rang out in commemoration of the lives lost. Brit Moorer of WIAT quotes Ahmad Ward of the Black Civil Rights Institute as saying...
"The sheer humanity of young people dying for no reason and the cost or the value of black bodies...that's a conversation we're still having."
On September 16, 1963, 53 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy issued the following statement in response to the previous day's bombing
"I know I speak on behalf of all Americans in expressing a deep sense of outrage and grief over the killing of the children yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama.
It is regrettable that public disparagement of law and order has encouraged violence which has fallen on the innocent.
If these cruel and tragic events...can only awaken this entire Nation--to a realization of the folly of racial injustice and hatred and violence, then it is not too late for all concerned to unite in steps toward peaceful progress...
Assistant Attorney General Burke Marshall* has returned to Birmingham to be of assistance...and bomb specialists of the FBI are there to lend every assistance in the detection of those responsible...
This Nation is committed to a course of domestic justice and tranquility--and I call upon every citizen, white and Negro, North and South, to put passions and prejudices aside and to join in this effort."
*Burke Marshall (1922-2003) was born in Plainfield, NJ. He served in the US Army intelligence corps during WWII and received his law degree from Yale in 1951.
Marshall worked 10 years at the Covington and Burling Washington, D.C. law firm specializing in anti-trust law and was appointed assistant attorney general by RFK in 1961.
From 1961-1964, BM was head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. He died at his home in Newtown, Connecticut.
"53rd anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing," by Brit Moorer, September 15, 2016, WIAT, www.wiat.com/
"Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963," United States Government Printing Office, Washington, 1964.
Photo by John Morse (2005)