Earlier this week, in the U.S. Capitol, they were posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Their mother, Maxine, was in the church's choir loft when the bomb exploded. Sarah peeked out the door to see Denise, Carole and Cynthia coming their way after class ended. She earned 150 bridge master points in events as far away as Mexico. [31] She had 21 pieces of glass embedded in her face and was blinded in one eye. In the years leading up to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, Birmingham had earned a national reputation as a tense, violent and racially segregated city, in which even tentative racial integration of any form was met with violent resistance. It's never too late for a man to be held accountable for his crimes."

"[37] A Milwaukee Sentinel editorial opined, "For the rest of the nation, the Birmingham church bombing should serve to goad the conscience. Although the credibility of Brogdon's testimony was called into dispute at the trial, forensic experts conceded that, although her account of the planting of the bombing differed from that which had been discussed in the previous perpetrators' trials, Brogdon's recollection of Cherry's account of the planting and subsequent lighting of the bomb could explain why no conclusive remnants of a timing device were discovered after the bombing. She also says she has gravitated to women about 17 years her senior, the same age Denise would have been if she was still alive -- an unconscious effort to fill a void. They forever changed the face of this state and the history of this state. On April 10, 2001, Judge James Garrett indefinitely postponed Cherry's trial, pending further medical analysis. She lost sight in her right eye, and would later have to have it replaced with a prosthetic. Her face then turns serious for a minute as she reflects on her firstborn, a child she lost 50 years ago and one she does not forget, even as her mind fades. "My aunt told me" about the bombing, "and I just kind of fainted."
[10] Other acts of violence followed the settlement, and several staunch Klansmen were known to have expressed frustration at what they saw as a lack of effective resistance to integration.[13]. "She'd pick glass from my face when it rose to the surface," Sarah says. She never got to attend. Both the church and the bereaved families received an estimated $23,000 in cash donations from members of the public. They resented spending their good money downtown and not being able to try on shoes or clothes at stores that reserved those conveniences for whites only.

The files were sealed by order of J. Edgar Hoover. [91] In spite of a rebuttal argument by the defense, Judge Garrett ruled that some sections were too prejudicial, but also that portions of some audio recordings could be introduced as evidence.


Carol Denise McNair (November 17, 1951 – September 15, 1963), born to Chris and Maxine McNair.

On Thursday, May 2, more than 1,000 students, some reportedly as young as eight, opted to leave school and gather at the 16th Street Baptist Church. Killed that morning as they primped after Sunday school class were Denise McNair, 11, and Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, all 14. She and Addie had skipped Sunday school that morning and were hiding in the ladies lounge in the basement. "She said, 'Well, I want you to go to college, too.'". But the longtime county commissioner, now 87, was convicted in 2006 for accepting bribes and then suffered a stroke. "She wasn't going to let the world pass her by.".

She learned the truth when she overheard Janie telling a nurse that Addie had been killed. Addie, who loved drawing, would have been an artist, she says. This appeal was dismissed on May 22, 1979. The couple first came over for a visit, bringing with them the family dog, a cockapoo named Tootsie. One of several vehicles severely damaged in the explosion was found to have carried fishing tackle.[114]). She was 12 at the time, the youngest in a family of eight children, and she says she remembers everything. There had been a history of mistrust between local and federal investigators. Articles from over the years, some yellowed, sit in a pile. The last letter Dianne got from her little sister came in June. In his mind, she was 10 or 11 when she left. Maxine’s daughter, Denise McNair, and three friends had been primping for their role in Youth Day services when dynamite planted by Ku Klux Klansmen blasted them into history. This attack upped the tensions and the ante. She is survived by her stepchildren Jeanine Hiteshen, Jan Svahn, and Daniel McNair, six nieces and nephews, fourteen grand nieces and nephews and a host of great grand nieces and nephews. Both were arrested. From inside, she pulled the chunk of concrete that had been lodged in Denise's head. Their maternal grandmother, a teacher, founded the first black PTA in Birmingham. The window exploded. The feeling of being overlooked -- by strangers, teachers, those who might have been in a position to help her -- stuck with Sarah.

Blanton's attorneys criticized the validity and quality of the 16 tape recordings introduced as evidence,[97] arguing that the prosecution had edited and spliced the sections of the audio recording that were secretly obtained within Blanton's kitchen, reducing the entirety of the tape by 26 minutes. As Kimberly puts it, the film made Denise "three-dimensional." Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, newly-inaugurated President Lyndon Johnson continued to press for passage of the civil rights bill sought by his predecessor. Last November, a Birmingham News article focused just on her. She was a member of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church which was bombed, killing her and Carole Robertson, Addie Collins and Cynthia Wesley on September 15, 1963. He said that the sections introduced as evidence were of poor audio quality, resulting in the prosecution presenting text transcripts of questionable accuracy to the jury. The second best result is Maxine Pippen Mcnair age 80+ in Birmingham, AL in the West End neighborhood. But her memory is different. We were working together. updated 11:30 AM EDT, Tue September 17, 2013, Legacy of Birmingham's 'four little girls'. For the brothers and sisters of the four girls, it was an event that would rock their foundations and shape their lives. "I'm so sorry. They reaped the benefits of their sister's sacrifice. Instead, Janie stepped in.

These demonstrations led to an agreement, on May 8, between the city's business leaders and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, to integrate public facilities, including schools, in the city within 90 days. In this speech, Morgan lamented: "Who did it [the bombing]? She was smart and brimming with potential; the Wesleys -- both educators who couldn't have children of their own -- were able to nurture her in a way their mother couldn't. Maxine Mirriam McNair (née Hinderaker) May 11, 1922 – March 22, 2020 Maxine died peacefully in her home at Becketwood in Minneapolis on March 22nd at the age of 97. The four individuals named in the FBI report were Blanton, Cash, Chambliss, and Cherry. The second best result is Maxine Pippen Mcnair age 80+ in Birmingham, AL in the West End neighborhood. Some would go on to promote understanding and equality. She said Addie hurt her back and was going to come visit me tomorrow," Sarah remembers.

He came down the street to find an angry crowd, yelling at police who had gathered outside. [50][51], As the girls' coffins were taken to their graves, King directed that those present remain solemn and forbade any singing, shouting or demonstrations. A section of wire and remnants of red plastic were discovered here, which could have been part of a timing device. A policeman and a neighbor had each testified that Chambliss was at the home of a man named Clarence Dill on that day. Officially, the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing remained unsolved until after William Baxley was elected Attorney General of Alabama in January 1971. ... What could I have done for her? There's a long history of informal adoptions in the black community, she explains. After Baxley requested access to the original FBI files on the case, he learned that evidence accumulated by the FBI against the named suspects between 1963 and 1965 had not been revealed to the local prosecutors in Birmingham. Following Cook's testimony, Baxley introduced police sergeant Ernie Cantrell. She desperately wanted to go to college and become a social worker, but she knew college wasn't something her mother could afford. updated 5:09 PM EDT, Sat September 6, 2014. Ware, aged 13, was shot in the cheek and chest with a revolver[12] in a residential suburb 15 miles (24 km) north of the city. He ran away.

[60] Blanton pleaded not guilty to the charges and chose not to testify on his behalf throughout the trial. Books about the civil rights era are in balanced stacks.

Her other daughters came of age in a time unlike Denise's.

Your email address will not be published. [86][87], In 1995, ten years after Chambliss died, the FBI reopened their investigation into the church bombing. "That's why no one knows about me," she admits, before saying she has no regrets. Maxine is related to Kimberly Mcnair Brock and Lisa Sharnell Mcnair as well as 1 additional person. On November 14, 1977, Robert Chambliss, then aged 73, stood trial in Birmingham's Jefferson County Courthouse. Dianne flew to Birmingham the day after Carole died. Even before the bombing, the church -- in the heart of the city's black community -- had been a backdrop to the civil rights movement. "My mother asked me what I thought about going to visit this family. They participate in Sojourn to the Past, a program that teaches high school students about the civil rights movement. "They fell in love with her and could send her to better schools," he says. Shirley says by the time she moved in with them in April 1964, she enjoyed being part of a blended family. Other witnesses obtained identified Chambliss as the individual who had placed the bomb beneath the church.

[16] To Maull, the anonymous caller simply said the words, "Three minutes",[17]:10 before terminating the call. Cross had attended the same Sunday School class as the four victims on the day of the bombing and was slightly wounded in the attack. "There was a privacy about it that I really appreciated.". The church was used as a meeting-place for civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and Fred Shuttlesworth, for organizing and educating marchers.


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