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50 Years Ago: The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing

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


On September 15th, 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The explosion killed four little girls and injured 22 others. In the violent aftermath of the bombing, two little boys were murdered.

The tragedy was a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights movement and gave the city a new nickname: "Bombingham.” Host Frank Stasio talks with Billy Barnes, a Chapel Hill resident who attended the funeral for the four girls. He will also speak with Georgia State University history professor Glenn Eskewwho authored "But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle," (University of North Carolina Press, 1997); and Fayetteville State University English professor Carole Weatherford, author of "Birmingham, 1963” (Boyd Mills Press, 2013).

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.