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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Friday, September 15, 2023

60 years ago, Birmingham church bombing killed four girls and catalyzed a movement - The Washington Post

60 years ago, Alabama church bombing killed 4 girls and catalyzed a movement

Denise McNair, 11, from left; Carole Robertson, 14; Addie Mae Collins, 14; and Cynthia Dianne Wesley, 14, were killed on Sept. 15, 1963, when a bomb exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. (AP)

"On Sept. 15, 1963, dynamite ripped through the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., killing four Black girls in the church basement as they prepared to attend Sunday services. The powerful blast reduced the church to rubble, mangling cars in the parking lot and stopping clocks. The dynamite blew plaster off the walls and peeled the face off the image of Jesus in a stained-glass window.

Later that day, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sent a telegram to President John F. Kennedy, pledging to urge nonviolence among his followers but warning that absent a meaningful response from the federal government, “we shall see the worst racial holocaust this nation has ever seen.”

Sixty years later, as the country continues to reel from recent high-profile police killings of unarmed Black Americans and lawmakers in several states restrict the teaching of Black history, the city of Birmingham is hosting a week of events to commemorate the victims of the church bombing and highlight the civil rights push that followed.

The commemoration programs include discussions on healing from racial trauma, an international peace conference and an exhibition of work by the late photographer Chris McNair, whose daughter Denise was killed in the church bombing. On Friday morning, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson will deliver a keynote address at the rebuilt church.

“In the aftermath of that fateful day on September 15, 1963, our city and our nation had to take a hard look at itself and reckon with the devastating effects of hate and racism,” Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said in a recent statement. “Today, in the spirit of the Four Little Girls, we work to be better and honor them by preserving our history and building a future worthy of their sacrifice.”

‘The blood of our little children is on your hands’

About 10:21 a.m. on that mid-September Sunday, the church’s pastor, Rev. John Haywood Cross, was in the auditorium for a women’s Bible class when it suddenly felt to him as if the whole world were shaking. Following the explosion, he looked up to see fallen glass and plaster and such dense smoke that he could barely recognize people three feet away, he later recalled. As the dust swirled, Cross yelled for churchgoers to get out of the building. Then he went looking for the children in the basement, walking through a huge hole the explosion had blown in the side of the church.

There, he saw injured people “standing around outside in a dazed condition and many were bloody,” according to court documents from the trial of one of the bombers. After digging about two feet into the rubble, he and others found the dead body of a young girl, and then three others. They were Denise McNair, 11, and 14-year-olds Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins and Cynthia Wesley.

“The four bodies were found almost in the same location as if they had been thrown on top of each other,” the documents stated.

When King heard the news of the bombing, he sent telegrams to Kennedy and to Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace (D), a staunch segregationist who had declared in his inaugural address, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” King wrote to Wallace, “The blood of our little children is on your hands.”

The bombing shocked the world, bringing increased international attention to the civil rights movement and efforts to desegregate the country. But it was only the latest in a series of attacks on Black institutions in Birmingham.

Birmingham was often called the most segregated city in the country; people referred to it as “Bombingham.” Black churches across the South had been targeted by white supremacists because they were considered the foundation of the Black community, and the 16th Street Baptist Church often served as a headquarters for civil rights mass meetings.

The pastor of another Birmingham church, the Rev. Frederick Lee “Freddie” Shuttlesworth of Bethel Baptist Church, had launched a courageous campaign for equal rights. Shuttlesworth, a founding member of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights, invited King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to Birmingham to join the campaign.

On April 2, 1963, King arrived in Birmingham. The next day, civil rights activists requested a parade permit from the office of Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor, Birmingham’s commissioner of public safety.

Connor, a staunch segregationist, answered: “No, you will not get a permit in Birmingham, Ala., to picket. I will picket you over to the city jail.” On April 10, a state circuit court issued an injunction against the march.

Two days later, on Good Friday, King, Shuttlesworth, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy and more than 1,000 activists marched anyway. King, Abernathy, Shuttlesworth and at least 55 marchers were arrested. King was detained in solitary confinement. It was during this week in jail that King wrote his famous “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” declaring, “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.”

On April 20, King was released from jail on bond. The civil rights leaders planned more actions. Weeks later, more than a thousand Black students gathered at the 16th Street church and peacefully marched in a “Children’s Crusade” through downtown Birmingham. Over the next days, Connor ordered police and firefighters to blast the children with high-pressure water hoses. Police beat children with clubs and allowed police dogs to attack them.

Photos of the brutality sparked international outrage. On May 10, the marches ended with a compromise called the Birmingham Truce, which called for removing “Whites-only” and “Blacks-only” signs from public bathrooms and drinking fountains, desegregating lunch counters, increasing Black employment in Birmingham and releasing civil rights demonstrators from jail.

White segregationists in Birmingham answered the agreement with another series of violent bombings. Among the targets were the A.G. Gaston Motel, where King had often stayed, and the house of King’s brother, Alfred Daniel King.

On Aug. 28, more than 250,000 people rallied in the March on Washington.

‘Martyred heroines of a holy crusade’

Two weeks later, on Sept. 15, Ku Klux Klan members planted the dynamite bomb in the back stairwell of the 16th Street Baptist Church.

“It was a clear act of racial hatred,” the FBI stated in a report. “The church was a key civil rights meeting place and had been a frequent target of bomb threats.”

The FBI identified four primary suspects. But for years, no arrests were made. Finally, in 1977, Robert Chambliss, a Ku Klux Klan leader, was convicted of murder in the church bombing and sentenced to life in prison. Later, Klan members Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton were convicted and also received life sentences. The fourth suspect, Herman Frank Cash, died in 1994 and was never charged.

The day after the church bombing, President Kennedy issued a statement expressing “a deep sense of outrage” and saying, “If these cruel and tragic events can only awaken that city and state — if they can only awaken this entire nation — to a realization of the folly of racial injustice and hatred and violence, then it is not too late for all concerned to unite in steps toward peaceful progress before more lives are lost.” Two months later, he would be assassinated.

More than 8,000 people attended the funeral for three of the children: Collins, McNair and Wesley. (A separate service was held for the fourth victim, Robertson.) “These children — unoffending, innocent, and beautiful — were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity,” King said in a eulogy.

“And yet they died nobly,” King said. “They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity. And so this afternoon in a real sense they have something to say to each of us in their death. They have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained-glass windows. They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism.”

In a thunderous voice, King went on: “They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of Southern Dixiecrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing Northern Republicans. They have something to say to every Negro who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice. They say to each of us, Black and White alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American Dream.”

60 years ago, Birmingham church bombing killed four girls and catalyzed a movement - The Washington Post

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