The Significance of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombings Towards the Civil Rights Movement

Topics: J. Edgar Hoover, Ku Klux Klan, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 3 (1069 words) Published: March 2, 2008
This is actually an oral presentation, enhanced with visuals.

Today I will discuss the horrific incident that took place in 1963 at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It has been proven that members of the white supremisist group the Ku Klux Klan bombed the African American church, which was an organisational centre for Civil Rights groups such as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). High profile civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr, and Ralph Abernathy congregated there regulary. In April earlier that year, the SCLC had launched the B'ham campaign, a well planned protest movement, which fought to desegregate the South's most segregated major city. They also fought against the injustice of the brutality by the B'ham Police Dept., which had very close ties to the KKK. The demonstrations and marches which involved thousands of African Americans eventually led to stores being desegregated, and just days before the bombing, schools in Birmingham had been ordered by a federal court to integrate – nearly ten years after the Brown v Topeka case (the court order for all schools to desegregate) But because not everyone agreed to integration, this had created an even more poisoned atmosphere of racial hatred. On Sunday the 15th of September, a white man was seen getting out of a white and turquoise Chevrolet car, placing a box under the steps of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. This box was later found to have contained 19 sticks of dynamite. Inside the church, the Sunday School was were preparing for their annual Youth Sunday service. Several hundred adults, and Father John Cross, whose own house had been bombed three times, were also in attendance. At 10.22 am, when children were walking into the basement assembly room for closing prayers, the bomb exploded. The explosion blew a hole in the church's rear wall, destroyed the back steps, and left intact only the frames of all but one stained-glass window. Four...
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