One month after the inspiring speech of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Lincoln Memorial during the historic Washington March in August 1963, the racial discrimination and violent segregation continued, portraying Blacks as the most neglected community. On September 15, 1963, 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, faced a huge bomb explosion just before the Sunday morning rituals. The church was a meeting place for all the civil rights activists and predominantly a place for the Black congregation. Around four girls died and many other people severely injured because of the horrible bombing attack. The outrage and brutal clash between the protesters and the police after the bomb explosion drew national attention and also showcased the hard earned struggle for civil rights for the African-American community.
According to some historians, many of the protest marches that were organized by the civil rights leaders took place in Birmingham during the 60s era of the 20th century. These marches started from the steps of the 16th Street Baptist Church, which had been one of the most significant worship places for the Black community of the city. The place was also a regular meeting point for civil rights giants such as Martin Luther King Jr. The members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) had been receiving constant bomb threats just to disrupt their civil rights meetings as well as different religious services at the church. KKK was an organization of civil rights activists that solely worked for the rights of the Black community in the country.
On the morning of September 15, 1963, right at 10:22 am, the church building was all busy with around 200 members who were all present for the Sunday services and many attending the Sunday school classes. Just before the 11 am service, a huge bomb detonated on the east side of the church, thrashing bricks and mortars from the front side of the church towards the interior walls. Many parishioners managed to evacuate the church building as it was all filled with smoke, but sadly, the bodies of four young girls were found all burnt beneath the terrible rubble of one of the basement restrooms. One of the young girls, Sarah Collins, lost her right eye, while 20 people got injured in the blast.
This terrifying blast left a huge impact on the worshippers who used to visit the church regularly, but the ones who made so many people suffer couldn’t let down the hopes and aims of the leaders who wanted to see Blacks as a part of the nation.