Congress has shown broad support for awarding the medal, but the idea has split relatives of the four victims. Some are supportive but others are seeking financial compensation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) today applauded the passage of a House resolution honoring the four girls killed in the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church. Almost 50 years after Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley were killed in that brutal Sunday morning attack, the House today voted to honor their memories with the Congressional Gold Medal.
“I was proud to co-sponsor this resolution honoring the memories of those four little girls by bestowing Congress’ highest honor – the Congressional Gold Medal,” Rep. Roby said. “On that morning 50 years ago, those girls didn’t know their lives would be taken from them in a cruel act of violence. They didn’t know they would be victims of an attack that became a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. They just knew it was time to go to church with their families and friends.
“Today, we honor the memories of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair, who died as innocent victims in a struggle for freedom. In doing so, we also honor all those who sacrificed so much during the Civil Rights Movement to ensure that every American enjoys justice and equality under the law. I appreciate the leadership of my Alabama delegation colleagues, Reps. Terri Sewell and Spencer Bachus in getting this resolution passed.”
According to the House Historian, “Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.” To learn more about the Congressional Gold Medal and see a list of previous recipients, visit http://history.house.gov/Institution/Gold-Medal/Gold-Medal-Recipients/.