ASU Remembers 16th St. Church Bombing Victims 50 Years Later


By Josh Ninke

Even though it's been 50 years, everyone here still remembers the names of those four girls who died on that September day in Birmingham.

Four girls from the early childhood development center lit candles, one for Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNare, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley.

Civil rights leader the Reverend Robert Graetz still remembers how painful that day was. 

"I remember that I was at church getting ready to have sunday school or church service and one of our teenage girls came up to me who had just heard about the bombing. I remember we just stood together and cried. There was no other way to respond," said Rev. Graetz. 
Jahmila Muhammad sang during the memorial to honor the girls. She says she's glad that things have changed so much since that time.
"It's wonderful. It's much different from the years that are behind us. Caucasian children, any type of mixed children and black children can finally merge and get along. I think that's awesome," said Muhammad.
Even though the memory of the senseless violence brought tears to many, the sacrifice did bring the nation closer to equality.
"This event galvanized support across the nation for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Which effectively ended segregation and public accommodations throughout the south," said Rolundus Rice with ASU.
"They're probably more effective in what they've accomplished in their death than they might have been if they lived on to be normal young children. God has a way of taking  things like that and turning them around into something good," said Rev. Graetz.
One important message everyone here wanted to pass on, even though we've come a long way, there's still a long way to go.

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