U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell spoke on the floor of the House Wednesday to honor the victims of the bombing at a church in Alabama that killed four young Black girls 60 years ago.
60 years ago this week, white supremacists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing #FourLittleGirls and galvanizing the Civil Rights Movement.
I spoke on the House Floor to honor their memory and remember them by name. We must never ever forget. pic.twitter.com/nProhGw6gu
— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@RepTerriSewell) September 13, 2023
“I rise today to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama in 1963,” Sewell (D-Birmingham) said. “And to honor the lives and legacies of four little girls killed in such a heinous attack.”
The bombing was Sept. 15, 1963 during Sunday school at the church.
“Tragically, the brutality did not stop after the bombing,” she said. “When African American communities across the state of Alabama took to the streets to demand justice, they were met with unspeakable violence at the hands of law enforcement.”
Sewell highlighted how the tragedy was turned into a call to action.
“It was their memory that inspired generations of freedom fighters to build for a world where the color of your skin does not determine the value of your life,” she said. “It was their memory that burned in the minds of foot soldiers as they fought to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And it was their sacrifice that brought our nation closer to realizing its highest ideals of equality and justice for all.”
The congresswomen explained how she is a living example of the legacy left by those who fought for civil rights.
“Without the influence of the four little girls I not only question where America would be but where I would be,” she said. “60 years after their passing, I get to walk the halls of Congress as Alabama’s first Black congresswoman. I do so because of their sacrifice and because they cannot.”
The attack killed 11-year-old Denise McNair, and 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley.