By Timothy K. Kinsella, Ph.D., head of the History Department and Director of the Master of Liberal Arts Program at Ursuline College.
Addie May Collins (age 14)
Carole Robertson (age 14)
Cynthia Wesley (age 14)
Denise McNair (age 11)
For many of us, these names are unknown. They are the four young African-American girls killed, with twenty-two others injured, in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama on September 15, 1963. This bombing took place only eighteen days after Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” in Washington D.C. and at the very beginning of integration efforts in Birmingham.
Many of you are eligible to vote in this upcoming election. Voting can be a pain. You might have to wake up early, drive to the polling place, find a place to park, go into the booth and see unknown names running for equally unknown offices. Furthermore what difference can one vote possibly make?
Maybe a broader context will help think about this voting idea. Fannie Lou Hamer, a civil right worker from Mississippi, participated in the so-called Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964. She was arrested and beaten several times for trying to register black voters in Mississippi, many too scared to register because of feared reprisals by klan members.
Fannie Lou Hamer. Photo Credit: Google Images.
Three young men (James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner), also involved in registering black voters in Mississippi, went missing and later found murdered–by klan members. One of the state’s senators, James Eastland, told President Lyndon Johnson that these men purposely went missing as part of a large publicity stunt to gain attention for their voter registration efforts.
Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman. Photo Credit: Google Images.
Voting can be a pain – even the voter registration process.
Timothy K. Kinsella, Ph.D. is head of the History Department and Director of the Master of Liberal Arts Program at Ursuline College