Lawmaker to add state tribute to memorialize 1963 church bombing

By Joseph D. Bryant 

State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, left, stands with Sarah Collins Rudolph outside Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. Rudolph was severely injured in the blast that killed four girls, including her sister. (Contributed)

An Alabama lawmaker plans to add another honor in a week of tributes and commemorations marking the 60th anniversary of bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church.

State Rep. Juandalynn Givan, D-Birmingham, said she will offer a House Resolution to recognize the 60th anniversary of the bombing, honor the victims and note its impact as a seminal moment in civil rights history. The state legislature is out of session until January, so her resolution will officially be an interim document until make official by a vote.

“Let us never forget that this was a terrorist attack aimed at frightening Blacks and bringing a halt to desegregation in Birmingham and Alabama,” Givan said. “The effect it had was just the opposite. It galvanized a nation against racial hatred and resulted in the passing of laws to outlaw discrimination and ensure equal rights for Blacks throughout the U.S.”

Friday marked the 60th anniversary of the deadly bombing that killed four girls at the church. Givan said the bombing of the church was one of the darkest days in the state’s history.

The blast killed 11-year-old Denise McNair, and 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, who were about to attend the church’s Youth Day service.

Givan’s resolution comes during a week where numerous memorials and observances occurred around Birmingham to commemorate the bombing and its impact.

National outrage over the church’s bombing and deaths of the girls contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights of 1965.

Givan plan to present the resolution to the church.