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16th Street Baptist Church Bombing 50th Anniversary

Birmingham, Alabama
Monday, October 14, 2013

American History TV was LIVE from Birmingham, Alabama, all day on Sunday, September 15th, 2013, for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. The attack – by white supremacists in retaliation for the integration of Birmingham’s public schools -- killed four African American girls and injured more than 20 others. The murders gained national attention and helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Earlier in 1963, Birmingham had been the site of civil rights protests led by Martin Luther King Jr., including marches by school children which local officials used dogs and water cannons to quell.

Coverage included:

  • 11am ET – Viewer call-in with Ahmad Ward, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Education & Exhibitions Director
  • 11:22am ET – Wreath-laying at the memorial for the four girls just outside the 16th Street Baptist Church at exactly the same time and location where the bomb went off 50 years ago.
  • Noon ET – Panel discussion with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – who grew up in Birmingham – on the Birmingham Civil Rights movement and its legacy. Other speakers include U.W Clemon, who was a student at Miles College in Birmingham in 1962-63 and took part in the protests. Also, Doug Jones, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama who prosecuted two of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombers in the early 2000s.
  • 1pm ET – Viewer call-in with Doug Jones
  • 1:45pm ET – Capitol Hill ceremony awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to the four girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing  
  • 3pm ET – Viewer call-in with Barbara Shores, daughter of Birmingham civil rights attorney Arthur Shores, whose house was bombed twice in the weeks ahead of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. She is co-author with her sister of a book about her father, “The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill: The Untold Story of Arthur Shores and His Family's Fight for Civil Rights.”
  • 3:30pm ET - Viewer call-in with Glenn Eskew, Georgia State University history professor and author, “But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle.”
  • 4-6pm ET – Commemorative ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the bombing from inside the 16th Street Baptist Church. Speakers include Attorney General Eric Holder.
  • 6:15pm ET – Wrap-up call-in segment with Glenn Eskew

For all guests we took tweets @cspanhistory and read questions and comments posted on facebook.com/cspanhistory.

Updated: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 10:09am (ET)

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