President Obama Honors 'Four Little Girls' With Congressional Gold Medal

In September 1963, white supremacists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama...

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In September 1963, white supremacists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The blast killed four girls: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley. The girls died inside of their Sunday School classrooms, and the blast kill 22 other congregants.

 Martin Luther King Jr. eulogized the girls, and the event is credited for expediting the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

On Friday, President Obama awarded the victims a Congressional Gold Medal.

Prosecution of the accused bombers, however, took significantly longer. A former Ku Klux Klansmen was convicted of four counts of murder in 2001.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian. The bombing came to symbolize the terrorism endured by African-Americans in the United States, and was the subject of a widely-acclaimed documentary by filmmaker Spike Lee.

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Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or

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