Today in History: Four Children Killed in Sixteenth Street Church Bombing

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Firemen and ambulance attendants remove a covered body from Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where an explosion ripped the structure during services, killing four black girls, in this Sept.15, 1963. Church members will remember the girls' deaths on the 40th anniversary of the bombing, with a three-day commemoration that begins with worship Sunday, Sept. 14, 2003, according to the Rev. Arthur Price Jr. A memorial service will be held Monday night, and a revival service looking forward is set for Tuesday. (AP Photo)
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On Sept. 15, 1963, four Black girls, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair, were killed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, after a member of the KKK detonated a bomb under the steps of the church.

The girls were attending Sunday school in the church’s basement when the bomb exploded. Fourteen others were also injured in the blast.

Although the KKK was suspected to be involved, no one was initially arrested for the crime.

After the investigation was reopened in 2000, Thomas Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry surrendered after they were indicted on first-degree murder charges. Blanton was sentenced to life in prison and died in 2020 at 82 years old. Cherry was also sentenced to life in prison and died in 2004 at age 72.

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