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1963: 50 Years Later

Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church -- The Case for Justice

The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church occurred on Sept. 15, 1963, but it took decades to put the perpetrators on trial. Why did it take so long? Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church -- The Case for Justice, a special documentary produced by Public Radio WBHM 90.3 FM, offers some answers.

Commentary: Courage in Unlikely Places

With the new school year in full swing, students and families are back into their routines. But for some, accessing educational opportunities is anything but routine. Commentator Larry Lee tells the story of one mother and the effort she’s making to ensure her children make it in school.

INTERVIEW: Tanner Colby, Some of My Best Friends are Black

As Barack Obama campaigned his way to the presidency, self-described lily-white writer Tanner Colby began pondering exactly why he and so many other white people basically had no black friends. The reasons are complex, ranging from school policy to real estate practices to media image-making to church politics, but the former Vestavia Hills resident dives right in from the springboard of his own life, recognizing his ignorance the whole way. The result: 'Some of My Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America.' Our Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen caught up with Colby soon after the author appeared on MSNBC to discuss America's persistent racial separation.

Yotam Haber: A More Convenient Season

A work of new music by composer Yotam Haber will have its world premiere Saturday night at UAB’s Alys Stephens Center.  Featuring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, “A More Convenient Season” was written specifically for and about Birmingham’s Civil Rights struggle. WBHM’s Michael Krall spoke with Haber about the piece….

WBHM Looks Back On 1963

Throughout the past year WBHM has marked the key moments from the civil rights movement and explored the legacy of events of 1963. Today we take a look back on some of those stories and voices.

The Mystery of Addie Mae Collins' Remains

While Birmingham marked the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing this weekend, a mystery lingers about one the victims. Three of the four girls killed in the bombing were buried in Greenwood Cemetery near the Birmingham airport. There’s a gravestone for Addie Mae Collins, but her remains are not actually there. One woman is trying to figure out where they are.

Four Spirits Statue, Memorial to 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims, Unveiled

City and civil rights leaders unveiled the “Four Spirits” statue in Kelly Ingram Park Saturday memorializing the victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, one day before the 50th anniversary of that tragedy. Other than a plaque on the side of the church, it's the first permanent memorial to the victims.

A Sunday School Lesson From the 16th Street Baptist Church

Verses from a Sunday School lesson taught the day of the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church will once again be shared with the church's youth this Sunday. WBHM's Sarah Delia visited the church to hear how those Bible verses resonate 50 years later.

The Story Behind Newsweek's 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Cover

Among many haunting images from the aftermath of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham is a Newsweek magazine cover from 1963. It shows Maxine McNair, whose daughter Denise died in the blast, grieving with her sister. That photograph came about in an unexpected way. Birmingham resident Reggie Holder tells how he stumbled across the story.

John Archibald: How far has Birmingham come?

Birmingham is in the midst of what's been dubbed "Empowerment Week," a series of panels, concerts and commemorations leading up to Sunday, the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. The blast killed four girls and severely injured a fifth. On this anniversary AL.com and Birmingham News columnist John Archibald is considering how far Birmingham has come since the civil rights era.

Black Women Don't Exercise

Have you heard the stereotype that black women don't exercise? African-American women are at an increased risk of obesity and more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than white women. While WBHM Race and Diversity Blogger Javacia Harris Bowser is big on fitness, she's also making sure her mother doesn't become a statistic.

The Miss Mary Case

When the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling, its decisions can carry weight for generations. For instance, civil rights decisions to overturn schools segregation or to uphold the Montgomery bus boycott are just as significant today. But another Alabama case from that era had a subtle effect on how courts treat defendants. WBHM's Andrew Yeager reports.

Remembering the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door

Some images from the civil rights era are indelibly etched on our collective memory. For instance, the rubble left by the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church or the dogs and fire hoses set upon marching children in downtown Birmingham. Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of a third -- Governor George Wallace’s stand in the Schoolhouse door. Greg Bass reports.

Spreading the Love on Loving Day

Loving v. Virginia is not as well known as other U.S. Supreme Court civil rights cases, but it has significant consequences for many people. The case overturned bans on interracial marriage and spawned an annual celebration called Loving Day. WBHM Race and Diversity Blogger Javacia Harris Bowser writes about one Birmingham couple who might not be together without that decision.

Healing the Hurt in Hurtsboro

Hurtsboro, Alabama, is a typical Black Belt town. It's small and poor. The town's only medical clinic closed several years ago, meaning residents must travel at least 35 miles to either Opelika or Columbus, Ga., to see a doctor or fill a prescription. But, a Birmingham-based medical ministry hopes to help.

Black School, White School: Teaching The Civil Rights Movement

Most people know Birmingham was a Civil Rights Movement battleground. But how is that complicated history taught in schools today? And are there differences between white and black districts? As part of our special Civil Rights anniversary coverage, Southern Education Desk reporter Dan Carsen went to class in urban Birmingham and suburban Mountain Brook to find out.

The Postman's March

All this year we’re marking the 50th anniversary of key moments from the civil rights movement. While many are familiar with the turmoil in Birmingham, Gadsden was relatively calm. That is until a white man named William Moore set out on a solo protest walk across the south. It ended with his murder in Etowah County, Alabama. WBHM’s Andrew Yeager has the story of the “Postman’s March,” a case still unresolved today.

I Was Told I Couldn't Be a Feminist Because I'm Black

I remember the first time I wrote and published a piece for a newspaper declaring myself a feminist. I received a message from a black man who couldn't believe that a black woman would dare associate herself with a movement that was spearheaded by "racist, wealthy white women."

Hostess to the Civil Rights Movement

The best remembered images of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama are of fire hoses and police dogs in Birmingham and officers attacking marchers crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. But today we bring you the story of one woman working to preserve the behind- the-scenes role her house played in the movement's history.

1963 Church Bombing Seeks Compensation

The lone survivor of a 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls is seeking millions of dollars in compensation and says she will not accept a top congressional award to honor the victims.

Diane McWhorter on Civil Rights 50th Anniversary

Birmingham is now in month four of commemorating the Civil Rights events of 1963. Some people welcome the chance to remember. Others say it was 50 years ago, why open old wounds?

White People Problems

You may have heard someone say "Sounds like a white people problem." Or how about "That's so ghetto." Some people toss around these phrases without even thinking about them, but not WBHM Race and Diversity blogger Jasmine White.

Pre-K: Politics and Poverty

Most education experts believe quality preschool programs are essential to finding a long-term solution to the achievement gap, and will ultimately play a role in helping disadvantaged students escape poverty. But politics can sometimes get in the way.

Bloody Sunday: A Commemoration and a Challenge

An estimated 15,000 thousand people, including members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden, marched across a bridge in Selma, Alabama, Sunday, to reenact what’s known as “Bloody Sunday.” In 1965, civil rights protesters attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery but were quickly met by police billy clubs and tear gas. Bloody Sunday galvanized support for the Voting Rights Act at that time. While the commemoration is an annual event, this year's comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court heard a challenge to a portion of the law

Nashville Works to Balance School Improvement and Diversity

This week we’ve been visiting schools across the south where student populations have increasingly resegregated. In the final installment in our series, we go to Nashville, where public school officials are finding it a challenge to balance school improvement plans with a desire for racial diversity.

When and Why Schools Resegregate

Since the 1970's, federal court orders have governed how many Southern communities integrated their public schools. But new research shows, as those orders have been lifted, school districts are gradually resegregating. In part four of our series we look at why.

John Archibald: Supreme Court Might Dismantle Parts of Voting Rights Act

If the questions that came from U.S. Supreme Court justices yesterday are any indication, there’s a good chance Shelby County could prevail in its effort to challenge the 1965 Voting Rights Act. That’s just one of the stories grabbing local headlines this week.

Segregated Schools Fact of Life

New research shows southern schools are increasingly resegregating. In one town in Mississippi the black students attend one high school and the white students attend another. It was a conscious decision that's spurred a lot of debate about the concept of separate but equal.

Supreme Court Weighs Future Of Voting Rights Act

Race is front and center at the U.S. Supreme Court today and so is Shelby County, Alabama. The county is suing the U.S. Justice Department, challenging a requirement that it get prior approval from the federal government to change voting laws or maps.

Tough Questions for the Voting Rights Act

Conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court asked tough questions Wednesday about the need for portions of the Voting Rights Act. The court is hearing a challenge to the law filed by Shelby County, Alabama. The Birmingham News' Kyle Whitmire talks about the case.