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1:27 AM / Saturday August 20, 2022

2 Jun 2013

President honors 1963 church bombing victims with Congressional Gold Medals

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June 2, 2013 Category: Diaspora Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Denise McNair, 11; Carole Robertson, 14; Addie Mae Collins, 14; and Cynthia Wesley, 14; from left, are shown in these 1963 photos. A former Ku
Klux Klansman, Thomas Blanton Jr., 62, was convicted of murder Tuesday, May 1, 2001, for the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing that killed the four
girls on Sept. 15, 1963.

By D.L. Chandler

NEWS ONE

On Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama (seated center) signed a bill effectively awarding the four young victims of the tragic 1963 Birmingham church
bombing with the Congressional Gold Medal.

With Alabama representatives Terri Sewell, a Democrat, and Spencer Bachus, a Republican, leading the effort, the House swung in favor last month to
posthumously award the deceased, which was a major step in properly upholding the legacy of the bombing victims.

Alabama representatives Terri Sewell, a Democrat, and Spencer Bachus, a Republican,

Image

Denise McNair, 11; Carole Robertson, 14; Addie Mae Collins, 14; and Cynthia Wesley, 14; from left, are shown in these 1963 photos. A former Ku Klux
Klansman, Thomas Blanton Jr., 62, was convicted of murder Tuesday, May 1, 2001, for the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing that killed the four girls
on Sept. 15, 1963.

Ku Klux Klan members used dynamite in the blast that killed four girls, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair while
injuring nearly two dozen others. The church was a frequent meeting place for civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and
more.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest award given to civilians, and includes a list of recipients, such as the many victims of the September 11th
attacks in Washington and New York. The signing took place at the White House, after the President returned from Annapolis, where he delivered a
commencement speech at the Naval Academy.

Several family members of the girls who were killed were in attendance in addition to members of Congress at the time of the signing.

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