WASHINGTON – Wednesday, H.R. 360, the resolution to bestow a Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson who lost their lives in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing of 1963, passed overwhelmingly in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 420-0. And now that the resolution has passed in the House, the Senate will take it up for passage before it goes to the President for his signature. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (AL-07) and Congressman Spencer Bachus (AL-06) introduced the bill along with the entire Alabama delegation and Alabama natives Rep. John Lewis (GA-05) and Rep. Sanford Bishop (GA-02).
“Today has been such a momentous occasion as Congress passed this historic resolution to honor the lives of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley posthumously with the Congressional Gold Medal during this 50th commemoration of the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. And though we will never be able to replace the lives lost or the injuries suffered, this medal serves as a compelling reminder of the sacrifices so many freedom fighters made to help us achieve equality and social change. It was also such an honor to have Dianne Braddock and Lisa McNair, sisters of Carole Robertson and Denise McNair, join me today for the passage of the bill. I look forward to advancing this resolution in the Senate and then having President Obama sign it,” said Rep. Sewell.
“The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, which killed four innocent young girls and injured nearly two dozen people, shocked the conscience of our nation and led to the passage of a landmark civil rights law. A Congressional Gold Medal would be a fitting commemoration of the lasting legacy of four beautiful little girls who, in losing their lives far too early, changed America permanently. Great progress has been made in Alabama and our nation during the half-century since that horrific bombing, but we should always be mindful of the hard journey that so many had to take to secure the color-blind rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution,” said Rep. Bachus.
“I’m very happy that the House has passed this bill. The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest honor I hope that the whole nation will rejoice in this meaningful honor. 50 years, later, we recognize not only the four little girls but the sacrifices of their families and how their sacrifices brought progress in this country. I am very grateful to the House of Representatives for bringing this bill to the floor. I want to thank Congresswoman Sewell, Congressman Bachus and the Alabama delegation for having the vision to award the Congressional Gold Medal,” said Dianne Braddock, older sister of Carole Robertson.
“I’m so excited about this wonderful honor and I can’t wait to get home and share this information with my mother. She will be thrilled. I hope the Senate will vote favorably as well. I cannot thank Congresswoman Sewell and Congressman Bachus enough for their efforts and am very proud of our elected officials for coming together on this bipartisan effort,” said Lisa McNair, younger sister of Denise McNair.