Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Birmingham Church Bombing: Bombingham

Introduction

It was called "Bombingham." And the title was not meant to be funny. Things were so bad in Birmingham, Alabama, during the early 1960s, that everyone, black or white, risked their lives just by walking through the city's streets. A bomb could go off at anytime. From 1950 to 1960, dozens of bombings were committed in Birmingham by unknown terrorists. Black homes or businesses were usually the targets of these explosions. In most cases, the victims were alleged to have committed an offense against the rigid structure of white supremacy. This type of transgression, which disturbed the fragile throne of white privilege, was considered so serious that a man could pay for it with his life. To live in certain areas of the South during this time, a person had to accept the fact that the animosities of past generations were still very much alive and the frightening rule of white supremacy dominated the course of everyday life.

4 girls who were victims of bomb
4 girls who were victims of bomb

This is the story of one of the most infamous crimes of 20th century America, the bombing of a church during a Sunday service, which left four innocent teenage girls dead. The men responsible hid behind the cloak of secrecy, intimidation and the white robes of the oldest terrorist organization in the world, the Ku Klux Klan. For the last 40 years, this epic pursuit of justice, which spanned eight Presidents, inched forward to a bitter end, while the aging families of the victims looked on in patient anguish. But the terrible bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963, will never be forgotten.

Its significance was nothing less than to alter the course of history and stir the conscience of a nation.

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