Birmingham, AL. 12/8/2105. A bronze figure from the “Four Spirits” statue in Kelly Ingram Park opposite the 16th Street Baptist Church.
The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church was the third bombing in 11 days, after a federal court order had come down mandating the integration of Alabama’s school system.
At 10:22 a.m. on the morning of September 15, 1963, some 200 church members were in the building – many attending Sunday school classes before the start of the 11 am service–when the bomb detonated on the church’s east side. Most parishioners were able to evacuate the building, but the bodies of four young girls were found beneath the rubble in a basement restroom... more than 20 other people were injured in the blast.
Four Klan members planted the bomb, made of 15 sticks of dynamite, underneath the church front steps. The Klansmen were not charged until 1977, when Robert Chambliss was convicted of first-degree murder of victim Denise McNair. Thomas Edwin Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry were later convicted in 2001 and 2002 and sentenced to life in prison.