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It’s been nearly 50 years since the “four little girls” were killed in an Alabama church bombing at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan. According to MSNBC, the young girls will now receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
Addie Mae Collins, 14, Cynthia Wesley, 14, Denise McNair, 11, and Carole Robertson, 14 were killed in a bombing that also left 22 church-goers injured on September 15, 1963. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered their eulogy. “These children, unoffending, innocent, and beautiful were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity,” said Dr. King in their eulogy. “They died nobly. They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity.”
In 2000, the FBI found the surviving perpetrators, arrested and convicted them.
The effort to remember these little girls was speared headed by Alabama democratic Representative Terri Sewell, who says this moment of recognition is “long overdue.”
“We thought it was very important and befitting that we acknowledge and honor the lives of [the girls]… This particular medal, I think, while it can’t bring back the lives of those that were lost, it is an effort on our part to really acknowledge nationally the sacrifices that these families have made.”
The bill is expected to pass the house this Wednesday without trouble. From there it will move on to the Senate and will be signed by President Barack Obama. The medals could be awarded before the 50th anniversary date.