During the Civil Rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s the Black church was not only a place of worship. It was a place of refuge, a place where Blacks felt safe from the hatred of racism. That is, until the church became a meeting place for the struggle confront racial justice. As organizers started to go against the grain of the tradition of White supremacy, the church became a target of violence.
50 years ago on September 15th 1963, two weeks after the March on Washington,the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed. It was Youth Day and four girls in attendance that day were killed. The bodies of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Weslely lied lifeless in the sanctuary. As sacrifices for justice on earth, their spirits were safely taken to heaven by the hand of God.
As for the church, it was badly damaged. The blast had blown a hole in the back of its wall. The steps were demolished and every glass structure was shattered, except for one stained-glass window. On it was a picture of Christ. He was leading a group of small children. The story of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing is told in the documentary 4 Little Girls.