The 16th Street Baptist Church today sits on a quiet corner in Birmingham, a living monument to a chaotic, violent time in America’s history. A monument to four schoolgirls who were murdered there 50 years ago today stands near the steps where, less than a month after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. capped the 1963 March on Washington, a box of dynamite placed by Ku Klux Klan members exploded as Sunday school convened in the basement.
Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair were killed instantly, 22 others were injured.
Sunday on Melissa Harris-Perry, the host and a panel of guests, including Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama, commemorated the loss of life, and looked back upon the bombing’s effect on the civil rights movement and on America.