- BAPTIST STREET BOMBING In September 1963, a dynamite bomb exploded in the stairwell of the downtown Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. The blast ripped through a wall, killing four African-American girls and injuring more than 20 others inside the church.
Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that killed Denise McNair, 11, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson, all 14. The FBI has reopened its investigation into the 34-year-old bombing after conducting a year-long secret review of the case. (AP Photo/The Birmingham News, Tom Self, File)
The church, which was a key civil rights meeting place, had been a frequent target of bomb threats. In the ’60s, no federal charges were filed. Suspect Robert E. Chambliss then received life in prison in 1977 following a case led by Alabama Attorney General Robert Baxley. Two other suspects — Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas E. Blanton, Jr. — were indicted in 2000, and convicted and sentenced to life in prison. A fourth suspect died before he could be arrested or charged.