A Blood Red Line of Racism Flows Through the United States

A Blood Red Line of Racism Flows Through the United States September 14, 2018

On Sept. 15, 1963, hate blew-up the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Al.

The massive explosion wounded nearly two dozen and took the lives of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair.

It was Birmingham’s fourth bombing in four weeks.

Four little girls were murdered in a terrorist attack; attacks that continue daily.

16th_Street_Baptist_Church_bombing_girls
The victims. Clockwise from top left: Addie Mae Collins, 14, Cynthia Wesley, 14, Carole Robertson, 14, and Denise McNair, 11.

Birmingham Sunday

(September 15, 1963)

By Langston Hughes

Four little girls

Who went to Sunday School that day

And never came back home at all–

But left instead

Their blood upon the wall

With spattered flesh

And bloodied Sunday dresses

Scorched by dynamite that

China made eons ago

Did not know what China made

Before China was ever Red at all

Would ever redden with their blood

This Birmingham-on-Sunday wall.

Four tiny little girls

Who left their blood upon that wall,

In little graves today await:

The dynamite that might ignite

The ancient fuse of Dragon Kings

Whose tomorrow sings a hymn

The missionaries never taught

In Christian Sunday School

To implement the Golden Rule.

Four little girls

Might be awakened someday soon

By songs upon the breeze

As yet unfelt among

Magnolia trees.

It’s too easy to simply blame the Ku Klux Klan, shake our head sadly, and overlook the reality of the racism that ignited the fuse.

The deaths aren’t history, they are current events. Wounded victims are still alive. One of the murders remains in prison, today. Racism rampant in 1963 is still alive and well today.

Racist-in-Chief Donald Trump was 17-years-old when the explosion shattered so many innocent lives.

Ten years later, “in October 1973, the Civil Rights Division filed a lawsuit against Trump Management Company, Donald Trump and his father Fred Trump, alleging that African-Americans and Puerto Ricans were systematically excluded from apartments…

“The Trumps and their company entered into a consent decree settling the litigation in 1975. The agreement contained no admission of wrongdoing, but required the Trump firm to institute a series of safeguards to make sure apartments were rented without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”

The United States has always fallen short of its ideals, and has always paid too little attention to the shortcomings and failures. The United States is built on the shattered lives of victims of racism.

When we minimize the deaths of thousands or overlook the death of children, we victimize them anew in a shower of bigotry.

The Racist-in-Chief is normalizing and legitimizing racism today, just as he did in the 1970s.

This is wrong.

Bigotry was wrong in 1963, it was wrong in 1973, and it is wrong today.

The President of the United States is a racist bigot, he always has been. Redefining the definition of bigotry doesn’t diminish the bigotry. Legitimizing racism doesn’t make racism legitimate.

Children die when racists are empowered. Remember that.

And let us remember the victims of American Bigotry.

*

Here’s an award winning book to help children understand the Birmingham bombing.

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  • Patrick

    Thank you for this timely reminder of this tragic event. The racism that caused the deaths of these innocent young women is still alive in this country, and it is emboldened by the current occupant of the White House, who IMO is unworthy of the title of president, as he exhibits no qualities of leadership.
    Check out this version of Birmingham Sunday! As good as the Joan Baez version in my book.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_T5KlTpvoM

  • The Mouse Avenger

    Thank you for writing this article. Its messages are especially important to all of us now more than ever!

  • Illithid

    Love Baez, but hadn’t heard this song. As is the article, moving and disturbing. We must keep trying to be better.