On May 21st, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
(NAACP) said that justice has at last been served by the
guilty verdict in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed
four young girls. A jury convicted former Ku Klux Klansman Bobby
Frank Cherry of first-degree murder. He faces an automatic
sentence of life in prison.
Kweisi Mfume, NAACP President and CEO, said: "Although it
has taken almost 40-years, justice was finally served in what
many consider one of the most heinous crimes during the '60
civil rights era. All Americans of good will are glad to be able
to close this final chapter of one of our nation's greatest
tragedies. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the
families of the innocent young girls 11-year-old Denise McNair
and 14-year-olds Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and
Cynthia Wesley. Their strength and courage throughout this
arduous, painstaking road to justice have been inspiring."
A jury of nine whites and three blacks deliberated less than a
day before returning the verdict against Cherry after a
weeklong trial. The 71-year-old Cherry is the last suspect to
be tried in the Sunday, September 15, 1963 dynamite blast
at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Two other
ex-Klansmen were convicted and a fourth died without being
charged in the deadliest single attack of the civil rights
At the urging of black ministers, federal authorities reopened
the case in 1995 that resulted in one conviction in 2001. It
had closed the case in 1968 without any charges. A state
investigation, reopened in the 1970s, drew a conviction.
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