The Unusual Suspects

Arrests of three promising college students in the Alabama church burnings have people asking, Why?

When Alabama churches were bombed or burned in the South in the 1960s, the reason was never a mystery. The racist violence of those years was meant to intimidate the African Americans who met in the churches, and you didn't need a guilty perpetrator, or even a suspect, to know that. Forty years later, after a new wave of church fires in Alabama, a twist ending to the story has residents stunned and confused.

Federal agents last week arrested three college students from the prosperous Birmingham suburbs--sons of a doctor, a constable and a plant manager--accusing them of setting ablaze nine...

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