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Cynthia Dionne Wesley, 14
Birmingham, Alabama
September 15, 1963

Agencies: Federal Bureau of Investigation - FBI

Last updated: 7 months ago

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Murder Victim. She was the first adopted daughter of Claude and Gertrude Wesley, both of whom were teachers. She attended Ullman High School where she excelled in math, reading, and band. 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, as 26 children were entering the basement assembly room for closing prayers, the bomb exploded, blowing a hole in the east side of the church and injuring dozens. When the debris was searched for survivors, the bodies of four young girls were found: Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, and Carole Robertson. The murders touched off nationwide outrage. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, and Cynthia Wesley were interred during joint funeral attended by over 8,000 mourners. 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. (bio by: Iola) 

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