I don’t know when exactly I became interested in the 16th Street Baptist Church case.
Although the year escapes me, I recall a church sponsored trip for vacation bible school attendees (meaning the children) were we traveled to Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala. And even though Atlanta is home to the Martin Luther King, Jr. center and house tour, it is also home to ‘Six Flags’ which is why the kids enjoyed it.
I don’t remember much from the visit to Atlanta but the ‘Without Sanctuary’ exhibit. However, Birmingham is another story.
I was exposed to the importance of the 16th Street Baptist Church while on the trip — the church was part of our tour. Although the historical landmark was closed on the day we arrived, as a group we stood on the sidewalk just outside its front doors letting the structure envelope us with its history.
It wasn’t until Spike Lee’s documentary 4 Little Girls that the depth of what the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church on Sept. 15, 1963 that rocked the nation — that killed four innocent girls — sunk in.
Addie Mae Collins, 14. Cynthia Wesley, 14. Carole Robertson, 14. Denise McNair, the youngest, 11.
If Lee’s documentary was the iceberg, former ‘Birmingham News’ reporter Frank Sikora’s book “Until Justice Rolls Down” is the glacier.
“Until Justice” is more than just a case study; it’s a walk through history. Using interviews, official court documents and his own observations, Sikora takes readers from the moments, the seconds, before the bombing to 39 years later when the third suspect, Bobby Frank Cherry, was convicted of the murders of the four little girls.
Written as a narrative, “Until Justice Rolls Down” is a hands down must have. It enlightens, it entertains, it educates but foremost anything, it sheds the light on one of the most heinous crimes of the Civil Rights era.
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