September 15, 1963
Agencies: Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI
Cause of death: Not Yet Known
Last updated: over 1 year ago
Murder Victim. She was born the third child of Alpha and Alvin Robertson. Her father was a band master at the local elementary school, her mother was a librarian. She attended Wilkerson Elementary School where she sang in the choir. She was a straight A student at Parker High School where she was also a member of the marching band and science club. She was a Girl Scout and belonged to Jack and Jill of America. She was a member of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham which was, due to the spacious basement auditorium, the center for meetings of the civil rights movement. On Sunday morning, September 15, 1963, several members of the KKK tunneled under the church and planted 122 sticks of dynamite near what was the girls' basement rest room. At about 10:22 AM, twenty-six children were entering the basement assembly room for closing prayers, five girls were apparently changing into their choir robes. At 10:19 AM the bomb exploded, blowing a hole in the east side of the church, shattering windows, walls, and doors and injuring or killing 24 people. When the debris was searched for survivors, the bodies of the four young girls were found; Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, and Carole Robertson. The murders touched off nationwide outrage. Despite the outrage and an FBI investigation, however, no one was charged with the crime. It wasn't until 1977 that anyone was charged, at which time a Klan leader was convicted for the murders. Another two suspects were charged and convicted in 2001 and 2002, a fourth suspect died before charges were brought. The song "Birmingham Sunday," recorded by Joan Baez, memorialized the victims of the bombing. In 1997 a documentary film on the bombing called "4 Little Girls" was released. The Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago, a social service agency that serves children and their families, was named in her honor.
(bio by: Iola)
In June 2016, Dianne Braddock, Robertson's older sister, received a telephone call from the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles saying that Thomas Blanton, who had served 15 years of his four life sentences at the St. Clair Correctional Facility, would come before them on August 3, 2016 for his first parole hearing. All of the families of the four little girls killed in this incident were notified of the hearing.