Civil Rights: The Sunday School Bombing

Sunday morning, Sept. 15, was cool and overcast in Birmingham. Sunday school classes were just ending in the basement of the yellow brick 16th Street Baptist Church, the city's largest Negro church and the scene of several recent civil rights rallies. The morning's lesson was "The Love That Forgives," from the fifth chapter of Matthew.* Four girls — Carole Robertson, 14, Cynthia Wesley, 14, Addie Mae Collins, 14, and Denise McNair, 11 — left the classroom to go to the bathroom.

At 10:22 the bomb exploded, with...

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