HMA is a founding sponsor for the memorial dedicated to the four little girls killed in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham.On Sept. 15, 1963, a bomb shook the foundation of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church and the hearts of four families who lost their little girls.
For many involved in the Civil Rights movement, the tragedy of that day became a watershed moment and served as a catalyst to initiate the true change sought by those seeking equality and justice.
Lost to the church bombing were Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, a movement was started to memorialize the “Four Little Girls” through a life-sized statue to be placed near to the spot where their lives were lost.
“After 50 years, it is surely time that a fitting memorial be established,” said Chervis Isom, who was inspired by reading the account in Carolyn McKinstry’s book, “While the World Watched.” A foundation, entitled Four Spirits Inc. was established to coordinate the effort to fund the memorial.
The final design of the memorial was envisioned by Alabama native Elizabeth MacQueen. In her design, the young girls are captured as though making preparations to attend Sunday School, shortly before the explosion that cost them their lives.
One child is depicted seated on a bench with an open Bible in her lap. Next to her, two others are placed, one adjusting the bow on the other’s dress. Standing a few feet away, the final child is depicted as motioning to the others to join her as she makes her way to Sunday School.
Included in the memorial are six doves, released by one of the children as in flight, designed to represent a total of six young lives lost to violence in Birmingham that day.
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama was honored to make a financial contribution as a founding supporter of the effort to bring the memorial to fruition.
“Though it has been erected for just a few weeks, the Four Spirits Memorial has already become an incredibly moving tribute that visitors to our community are drawn to,” said Stephanie Hill-Alexander, coordinator of HMA’s charitable giving programs. “The figures evoke such a wide range of emotions for those who experience it – from heartbreaking sadness, to the promise of compassion, forgiveness and hope.”
To learn more about the Four Spirits Memorial, visit http://www.fourspirits1963.com.