On the morning of September 16, 1963, in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, twenty-six children were preparing for Sunday School. What they didn’t know was that four members of the Ku Klux Klan had placed dynamite at the base of the church, and it was scheduled to go off while the kids were there. The church had been a target for some time, because it was where Rev. Martin Luther King held meetings. Bombings of buildings occupied by black people was not new to Birmingham. In fact, it was nicknamed “Bombingham” because it had already been the scene of over 50 racially motivated bombings. When this bomb went off, four little girls were killed, and over twenty people were injured. Despite having eye witnesses to the bombing, the Alabama justice system saw fit to only charge oneof the men with a crime in the attack - the possession of dynamite without a permit. It was not until the early 1990s, that all the men responsible would finally be arrested and convicted for their role in the attack. But, this brutal act emotionally affected people everywhere, both black and white, and helped gain national support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
JB Lenior was a southern bluesman who migrated to Chicago during the Great Migration, but never forgot about the plight of his black brothers and sisters in the south. And his disgust over the events in Alabama is palpable in his song, “Alabama Blues.”
Introduce: Gerry Hundt – guitar/vocals