Birmingham Church Bombing Victims Honored By Congress

The four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church will posthumously receive the Congressional Gold Medal on Tuesday.

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Fifty years ago this Sunday, four African-American girls died when the Ku Klux Klan bombed a church in Alabama.


The explosion at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church was a seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. It horrified the nation and helped spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

SIEGEL: Today, the girls received one of the nation's highest civilian awards, the Congressional Gold Medal. House Speaker John Boehner led the ceremony.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: Birmingham had to go through hell but found its way back and pushed itself forward and pushed the whole country forward as well.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing) Don't let your burdens get you down...

CORNISH: The four girls were Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, all 14 years old, and Denise McNair, who was 11.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing) I know you could not do...

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