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Alabama Avoids Compensation for ’63 KKK Explosion Survivors

Birmingham, Alabama. – Sarah Collins Rudolph lost her eyes and had shards of glass in her body from the Ku Klux Klan bombing that killed her sister and three other black girls in a church in Alabama 59 years ago, leaving the state to die. I am waiting to compensate her. those injuries.

Governor Kay Ivey sidestepped the issue of financial compensation two years ago. apology However, despite the efforts of lawyers representing Rudolph, nothing has been done and the payment issue remains unresolved even though victims of other attacks, including 9/11, have been compensated. is. .

Rudolph will meet with President Joe Biden at the White House for a summit on combating hate-fueled violence on Thursday, bombing anniversary.


Known as “The Fifth Little Girl” for surviving the infamous attack portrayed in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary “4 Little Girls,” Rudolph is ranked by state inaction.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Rudolph said the then governor said: George C. Wallace helped lay the groundwork for the Ku Klux Klan attack on 16th Street Baptist Church, and the state is held accountable for his racist rhetoric.

“I don’t think the church would have been blown up if they hadn’t stirred up the racist hatred that was going on at the time,” Rudolph said.

Rudolph still bears medical bills from the blast, including $90 bills he receives every few months for work on a prosthetic eye to wear to replace his right eye destroyed by shrapnel on September 15, 1963. I said yes. Rudolph believes she needs to be paid millions.


Lawyer Ishan Baba, who represents Rudolph, said the state’s apology, which was accompanied by a plea for restitution in response to Rudolph’s request, was intended only as a first step.

“She deserves justice in the form of compensation for the serious injuries and expenses she has had to incur over nearly six decades. I will continue to pursue the means.”

Five girls were gathered in the downstairs bathroom of the 16th Street Baptist Church when a bomb planted by members of the KKK exploded outside, creating a large hole in the thick brick wall. The explosion killed 11-year-old Denise McNair and her 14-year-old three.

Three Klan members convicted of murder in the bombing years later died in prison, and a fourth suspect died without being charged. The bombings occurred eight months after Wallace declared “eternal segregation” in his inaugural address, when Birmingham schools were racially integrated for the first time.


The church itself is undergoing government-funded renovations, as is the surrounding Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, which was formed in 2017 by President Barack Obama as one of his last acts in office. “But not me,” said Rudolph.

In an apology, Ivy said in a letter to Rudolph’s lawyers that any potential compensation would require legislative approval, spokeswoman Gina Maiola said.

“Additionally, the same points were repeated in the conversations between the lawyers that followed shortly after,” she said.

As the legislative record shows, no bill to compensate Rudolph has ever been introduced, and with conservative Republicans overwhelmingly in control and with entrainment problems, whether such a bill will pass or not. is unknown. history A lesson that can make white people feel bad about the past.


The Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission assists victims and families with crime-related costs, but state law does not allow it to address crimes committed before the agency was established in 1984. Is not …

Rudolph has spent his life coping with the physical and mental suffering of the atomic bomb. Despite her injuries and her lingering stress disorder, Rudolph provided testimony, led to the conviction of a man accused of planting a bomb, and wrote a book about her life, The 5th Little Girl. I was.

Rudolph’s husband, George Rudolph, said he was frustrated and angry at the way his wife was treated. compensatedhe said. Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.


“Why can’t you do anything for Sarah?” he said.


Reeves is a member of AP’s Race and Ethnicity Team.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.ksat.com/news/politics/2022/09/15/alabama-sidesteps-compensation-for-survivor-of-63-kkk-blast/ Alabama Avoids Compensation for ’63 KKK Explosion Survivors

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