Birmingham Church Bombed in ‘63 Planning Virtual Remembrance - Word&Way

Birmingham Church Bombed in ‘63 Planning Virtual Remembrance

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Crowds gather every year at 16th Street Baptist Church to mark the anniversary of the horrific day when a bomb planted by Ku Klux Klansmen went off just before worship, killing four Black girls. This year’s 57th observance will be virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic.

16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. (Brian Kaylor/Word&Way) reported that the downtown church is asking people this year to watch a video replay of the 2019 memorial service, which included an appearance by former Vice President Joe Biden. The replay will begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday on the church’s Facebook page to coincide with the day of the bombing on Sept. 15, 1963. Afterward, Pastor Arthur Price will lay a wreath at the site of the bombing, which happened on a side of the building.

“Out of an abundance of caution and care, we will commemorate the anniversary of the bombing in this fashion,” Price said.

The church hasn’t resumed in-person worship since discontinuing in March because of the pandemic.

“All of our services are virtual,” Price said.

The bombing killed 14-year-old Addie Mae Collins, 11-year-old Denise McNair, 14-year-old Carole Rosamond Robertson, and 14-year-old Cynthia Wesley. Three KKK members were convicted in the blast years later and went to prison.

Part of the memorial to the girls killed in the 1963 bombing, with 16th Street Baptist Church in the background. (Brian Kaylor/Word&Way)