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Sep 15, 1963: Four black schoolgirls killed in Birmingham


The four girls killed in the bombing (Clockwis...
The four girls killed in the bombing (Clockwise from top left, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this day in 1963, a bomb explodes during Sunday morning services in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young girls.

With its large African-American congregation, the 16th Street Baptist Church served as a meeting place for civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., who once called Birmingham a “symbol of hardcore resistance to integration.” Alabama’s governor, George Wallace, made preserving racial segregation one of the central goals of his administration, and Birmingham had one of the most violent and lawless chapters of the Ku Klux Klan.

The church bombing was the third in Birmingham in 11 days after a federal order came down to integrate Alabama’s school system. Fifteen sticks of dynamite were planted in the church basement, underneath what turned out to be the girls’ restroom. The bomb detonated at 10:19 a.m., killing Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins–all 14 years old–and 11-year-old Denise McNair. Immediately after the blast, church members wandered dazed and bloodied, covered with white powder and broken stained glass, before starting to dig in the rubble to search for survivors. More than 20 other members of the congregation were injured in the blast.

When thousands of angry black protesters assembled at the crime scene, Wallace sent hundreds of police and state troopers to the area to break up the crowd. Two young black men were killed that night, one by police and another by racist thugs. Meanwhile, public outrage over the bombing continued to grow, drawing international attention to Birmingham. At a funeral for three of the girls (one’s family preferred a separate, private service), King addressed more than 8,000 mourners.

A well-known Klan member, Robert Chambliss, was charged with murder and with buying 122 sticks of dynamite. In October 1963, Chambliss was cleared of the murder charge and received a six-month jail sentence and a $100 fine for the dynamite. Although a subsequent FBI investigation identified three other men–Bobby Frank Cherry, Herman Cash and Thomas E. Blanton, Jr.–as having helped Chambliss commit the crime, it was later revealed that FBI chairman J. Edgar Hoover blocked their prosecution and shut down the investigation without filing charges in 1968. After Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley reopened the case, Chambliss was convicted in 1977 and sentenced to life in prison.

Efforts to prosecute the other three men believed responsible for the bombing continued for decades. Though Cash died in 1994, Cherry and Blanton were arrested and charged with four counts of murder in 2000. Blanton was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Cherry’s trial was delayed after judges ruled he was mentally incompetent to stand trial. This decision was later reversed. On May 22, 2002, Cherry was convicted and sentenced to life, bringing a long-awaited victory to the friends and families of the four young victims.

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on this day ~ Civil Rights Act of 1957 ~ In the Library Sept 9, 1957


In 1957, President Eisenhower sent Congress a proposal for civil rights legislation.

The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

The new act established the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and empowered federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote. It also established a federal Civil Rights Commission with authority to investigate discriminatory conditions and recommend corrective measures. The final act was weakened by Congress due to lack of support among the Democrats.

Cabinet Paper – The Civil Rights Program – Letter and Statement by the Attorney General, April 10, 1956 [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090725]

Press Release, Statement of the Attorney General on the Proposed Civil Rights Legislation Before The Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Senate Judiciary Committee, February 14, 1957 [22 pages][E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167080]

Fact Paper – The Administration and Civil Rights Legislation, March 27, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167051]

Memorandum, E. Frederic Morrow to Sherman Adams, July 12, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167063]

Letter, Val Washington (RNC) to DDE, July 18, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023121]

Press Release, Republican National Committee, August 7, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12023122]

Letter, William P. Rogers to Joseph P. Martin, August 9, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12090722]

Press Release by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, August 30, 1957 [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167069]

Civil Rights Act of 1957 [Record Officer Reports to President on Pending Legislation, Box 111, Civil Rights HR 6127; NAID #12171136]

Report, Executive Branch Cooperation with the Commission on Civil Rights, February 27, 1959 (outlines the Commission’s authority, duties, responsibilities and actions) [19 pages] [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 10, Civil Rights Commission; NAID #12171139]

Pamphlet, The Commission on Civil Rights [E. Frederic Morrow Records, Box 9, Civil Rights Bill; NAID #12167074]

Photographs:

Images in the audiovisual collection

Additional Information:

Civil Rights Act of 1957 Subject Guide

resources ~ eisenhowerarchives.gov

On This Day September 9, 1943: Light During the Darkness of the Holocaust on the Island of Zakynthos


On This Day September 9, 1943: Light During the Darkness of the Holocaust on the Island of Zakynthos

by Gregory Pappas

On September 9 1943, the head of the Nazi German occupation forces of the Greek island of Zakynthos, following orders from Berlin as part of Adolf Hitler’s Final Solution, summoned the mayor, Loukas Karrer, to his office.

He demanded a list of all Jews on the island in order for their ultimate round up and deportation. He asked him to return with the list in 24 hours.

for the complete article:  www.pappaspost.com

On This Day … Alex Haley wins a Pulitzer Prize for Roots


Born on August 11, 1921, in Ithaca, New York, Alex Haley was an American writer whose works, including Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, centered on the struggles of African Americans. He died in Seattle, Washington, on February 10, 1992.

 Quotes

“Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you.” – Alex Haley

“The money I have made and will be making means nothing to me compared to the fact that about half of the black people I meet—ranging from the most sophisticated to the least sophisticated—say to me, ‘I’m proud of you.’ I feel strongly about always earning that and never letting black people down.” – Alex Haley

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”  – Alex Haley

 Early Life

Alex Haley was born Alexander Murray Palmer Haley on August 11, 1921, in Ithaca, New York. At the time of his birth, Haley’s father, Simon Haley, a World War I veteran, was a graduate student in agriculture at Cornell University, and his mother, Bertha Palmer Haley, was a teacher.

For the first five years of his life, Haley lived with his mother and grandparents in Henning, Tennessee, while his father finished his studies. When Simon Haley completed his degree, he joined the family in Tennessee and taught as a professor of agriculture at various southern universities. Alex Haley was always remarkably proud of his father, whom he said had overcome the immense obstacles of racism to achieve high levels of success and provide better opportunities for his children.

An exceptionally bright child and gifted student, Haley graduated from high school at the age of 15 and enrolled at Alcorn A&M College (Alcorn State University) in Mississippi, where he says he “was easily the most undistinguished freshman.” After one year at Alcorn, he transferred to Elizabeth City State Teachers College in North Carolina.

In 1939, at the age of 17, Haley quit school to enlist in the Coast Guard. Although he enlisted as a seaman, he quickly became a third class petty officer in the inglorious rate of mess attendant. To relieve his boredom while on ship, Haley bought a portable typewriter and typed out love letters for his less articulate friends. He also wrote short stories and articles and sent them to magazines and publishers back in the United States. Although he received mostly rejection letters in return, a handful of his stories were published, encouraging Haley to keep writing.

At the conclusion of World War II, the Coast Guard permitted Haley to transfer into the field of journalism, and by 1949 he had achieved the rank of first class petty officer in the rate of journalist. Haley was soon promoted to chief journalist of the Coast Guard, a rank he held until his retirement in 1959, after 20 years of service. A highly decorated veteran, Haley has received the American Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal and an honorary degree from the Coast Guard Academy. A Coast Guard Cutter was also named in Haley’s honor: the USCGC Alex Haley.

for the complete article … Go to … www.biography.com/people