Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MLK and The 16th St. Baptist Church

"...self-purification...'Are you able to accept blows with retaliating?Are you able to endure the ordeal of jail?' We decided to schedule our direct action program for the Easter season..." (King, 458) This was the most meaningful to me because we are able to see the preparation that went into their protest for equality. They had everything down to the exact day and time that it would be best to target the city of Birmingham. The Easter season was chosen because it was one ofthe busiest shopping times of the year which meant that the streets and diners and stores would all be full and their message woulde be heard from every corner of Birmingham. This season becomes important symbolically because when MLK is arrested on Good Friday and sent to solitary confinement, it is as Jesus was crucified on the cross, which left the Christians to know that he would be ressurected and rise again. After all he was the President of tthe Southern Christian Leadership Conference leading all Chritstians through a time of injustice as Jesus has done for every single person he died for.
The 16th St. Baptist Church becomes important because it was used as a meeting place for civil rights activists including Dr. King himself. This is where the first discussions of pushing for African Americans to have the right to vote began and was the first black Baptist Church in 1878. One of the most memorable events that haoppened at this church was the bombing of 1963. A man placed a stick of dynamite under the church steps on a Saturday night and four girls on their way to Sunday School the next morning were blasted by the dynamite and their lives were ended entirely too short. Twenty three others were also injured by this. The man responsible had to be tried twice before being found guilty and being sentenced to life imprisonment. Violence outbroke all around the church leaving two others dead in the streets. This is amazing to me because had it been a black man there is no doubt in my mind that he would have been put into jail druing the first trial if not murdered. And it took two trials and fourteen years later to convict the white man, "Dynamite Bob" Chambliss, who did not see the inside of a cell until he was 73. today the 16th St Baptist Church is part of Birmingham's Civil Rights district and has been restored as a historical icon to the city with over 200,000 visitors annually. Below I have posted a photo of the four girls who lost their life in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.


  1. I think that it was pretty clever to have protested/boycotted around the Easter week. After MLK gets arressted it is sort of symbolic and true.

  2. Laura, great job. Have you seen Spike Lee's film Four Little Girls? It's really worth watching. Heartbreaking, but powerful.

  3. It makes me sick knowing that it took them fourteen years to convict him after the bombing. It makes the government seem just as guilty as the bomber himself.