Lessons in civic involvement: CPS students honor girl killed in Alabama bombing in 1963

Chicago News

A number of Chicago Public School students honored four girls killed 58 years ago when the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.

One of the girls killed was Carole Robertson.

The event held Thursday was at a center named after her on Chicago’s West Side.

Outside the Carole Robertson Center for Learning, students called for peace in their neighborhood now, by looking back at a tragic event.

The children learned about the 1963 church bombing, that killed Carole, who was 14-years-old at the time, and three other girls; Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carol Denise McNair.

Nearly two dozen others were also injured.

Candace Washington works at the center.

“The initial reaction is it is a sad and tragic event,” she said. “It’s more of  what can we do now? Where do we stand in our community? They really had some wonderful ideas of being more civically engaged.”

The students made their own signs.

The children learned about social justice and how the event affected the Civil Rights Movement.They also created a mural in memory of the victims.

“We get a chance with our youngest learners, a chance to refresh and rebuild our legacy,” Washington said. “Part of that is to educate enrich and empower.”

This week, the older students at the center watched the Spike Lee documentary called “4 Little Girls”.

There was also recently a “4 Little Girls” art display at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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