50 Years Ago: Honoring the Healing of Four Little Girls in Birmingham

“These children — unoffending, innocent, and beautiful — were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity.” – Martin Luther King Jr.  

“On Birmingham Sunday a noise shook the ground. And all over the hearth turned around. For no one recalled a more cowardly sound. And the choir kept singing of Freedom.” – Joan Baez


Fifty years ago, a church in was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young Black girls.  Once September 15th, 1963, in their place of worship and solace, their lives were taken by the racism of a nation. And 50 years ago, the Ku Klux Klan gave the civil rights movement the next level of fight to the African American community for justice by taking the life of these children.

The country mourned this moment in history, it was a visual reminder of terrorism here at home, and a symbol of the continued grief that the Black community had to hold. Addie Mae Collins in the blast, stood by as members laid a wreath at the spot where the dynamite device was placed along an outside wall.

Addie Mae Collins was 14, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley Morris were 14, and Denise McNair was 11 years old; the church service they were learning was about “A Love that Forgives”. The 16th Street Baptist church taught that same lesson today in remembrance of their senseless deaths, and the lesson we are all still trying to learn.

In a moment of remembrance of these young victims, victims of the segregation, hate, and oppression of African Americans, I wrote a poem/prayer. These very moments are the ones we are still healing from as a community, as a country, and need to heal so that we can learn and pass on the lessons. I hope others will join me in honoring the sacrifice these young girls made before they could become women, giving us the forever memory of what hate can do to the innocent, and how it can be used to change the world.

Join me in lighting four candles, or ringing the bell four times, to honor each of these young women, and our continued need for equality for all people. All power to all people, forever.

“Bones of ashes they lay, forgotten in a world of hate they stay.

To peace their spirits will rise, with their gods up in the skies.

Too much time to mourn their deaths, without their names upon our breath.

Their young souls are the grave reminder, of our lessons to be much kinder.

For the human spirit should grieve, the lost innocence the world doth sees.

And candle we here do light, for the pain to leave and take flight.

Healing the past our goal, while shaping the future mold,

Without carrying the ills of their pain, in our souls beyond their grave.

May their spirits be now free, and live in love wherever they be.

Justice is still our goal, Social power big and bold.

As it is, it shall be. Forever now, and forever free.

As we will it, so mote it be.”

 

For more information:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/15/alabama-church-anniversary-bombing/2816591/

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/09/birmingham-church-bombing-victims-honored-on-50th-anniversary/


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