16th Street Baptist Church Bombing, September 15th, 1963

16th Street Baptist Church Bombing (1963)

The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was a white supremacist terrorist attack which occurred at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on this day in 1963. Four members of a local Ku Klux Klan chapter planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the steps located on the east side of the church.

At 10:22 am, the dynamite was detonated, blowing a hole measuring seven feet (2.1 m) in diameter in the church's rear wall, blowing a passing motorist out of his car, and destroying several cars nearby. Four girls, Addie Mae Collins (age 14); Carol Denise McNair (age 11); Carole Robertson (age 14); and Cynthia Wesley (age 14), were killed in the attack. Approximately 20 more people were wounded.

On May 13th, 1965, local investigators and the FBI formally named Blanton, Cash, Chambliss, and Cherry as the perpetrators of the bombing, with Robert Chambliss the likely ringleader of the four, however, they did not bring charges against any of them. Justice came later - in 1977, Chambliss was convicted of first degree murder; in 2001 and 2002, respectively, Blanton and Cherry were sentenced to life in prison.

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