Fifty-six years ago today, four precious little girls were murdered in one of the most heinous acts of white supremacist terror of the civil rights era.
Addie Mae Collins and Carol Denise McNair were getting ready to sing in the choir. Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley were going to be ushers.
The Klansmen who planted the bomb wanted to terrorize the black community and their leaders…. the Klansmen were wrong about the impact. Perhaps more than any other event, the murders of the children while they attended church shamed the nation. Ten months later, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.
This remembrance demonstrates that hate is nothing new and also that our commitment can overcome hate.
The fear and resentment of our nation’s growing diversity are at the heart of the hate that’s swelling across America. We’ve seen it time and time again. In Charlottesville, Virginia. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In Poway, California. In El Paso, Texas.
We must reject those who continue to traffic in fear, hate, and violence – and work together to bring in hope, equality and true justice.
Today, at 10:22 a.m. – regardless of where you are and what you’re doing – please pause and remember:
Addie Mae Collins, 14.
Denise McNair, 11.
Carole Robertson, 14.
Cynthia Wesley, 14.
And let’s recommit to carrying the torch for justice.
Interim President, Southern Poverty Law Center