Tag: 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing

Obama Signs Bill Awarding 1963 Birmingham Bombing Victims Congressional Medal of Honor

US President Barack Obama (4th L) signs a bill in the Oval Office designating the Congressional Gold Medal to commemorate the four young girls killed during the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, as (L-R) Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Dr Sharon Malone Holder, Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep Terri Sewell (D-AL), Thelma Pippen McNair, mother of Denise McNair, Lisa McNair, sister of Denise McNair and Dianne Braddock, sister of Carole Robertson look on May 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. The medal, the highest Congressional civilian honor, was given posthumously to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair who died September 15, 1963 when a bomb planted bywhite supremacists exploded exploded at the church. (Photo by Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty Images
US President Barack Obama (4th L) signs a bill in the Oval Office designating the Congressional Gold Medal to commemorate the four young girls killed during the 1963 bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, as (L-R) Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Dr Sharon Malone Holder, Attorney General Eric Holder, Rep Terri Sewell (D-AL), Thelma Pippen McNair, mother of Denise McNair, Lisa McNair, sister of Denise McNair and Dianne Braddock, sister of Carole Robertson look on May 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. The medal, the highest Congressional civilian honor, was given posthumously to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair who died September 15, 1963 when a bomb planted bywhite supremacists exploded exploded at the church. (Photo by Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty Images

President Barack Obama is set to sign a bill Friday that awards the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to the four African-American girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing. The children were murdered when a bomb planted by white supremacists exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in September 1963.

The deadly blast at the church, which civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. used as a meeting place, was pivotal turning point in the Civil Rights Movement and sparked support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Not only did the explosion kill the four girls- — Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair – another 22 people were injured.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award given in the United States. It is awarded to people “who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is likely to be recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement.”

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