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Sewell Joins President Obama for Congressional Gold Medal Bill Honoring the “Four Little Girls”

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D) from Sewell joined President Barack Obama at the White House for a bill signing ceremony for the Congressional Gold Medal Bill honoring the “Four Little Girls.”

The bill, H.R. 360, to award the posthumous Congressional Gold Medals to the four little girls killed in a bombing of their Church by domestic terrorists in Birmingham passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on April 24. The bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Sewell and Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia together with the entire Alabama delegation and Alabama natives Rep. John Lewis (D) from GA and Rep. Sanford Bishop (R) from GA.

Representative Sewell said,“I applaud President Obama for signing the Congressional Gold Medal Bill to honor the lives of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley. I am pleased that this nation has finally honored the sacrifices of these four little girls that ignited the spark which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And though we will never be able to replace the lives lost or the injuries suffered, this medal will serve as a compelling reminder of the sacrifices so many freedom fighters made to help us achieve equality and social change.”

Representative Bachus said, “This Congressional Gold Medal will commemorate the legacy of four beautiful little girls whose lives, while far too short, led to permanent change in our society and who are part of the honor roll of the civil rights movement.  The fact that this moved from being a legislative proposal to a law signed by the President in such a relatively short period of time is a recognition of the historic significance of 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and its aftermath. It was a pleasure to work with Congresswoman Sewell and our entire Alabama delegation in the House and Senate on this deserved honor.”

H.R. 360 was carried in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Senators Richard Shelby (R) and Jeff Sessions where it was approved unanimously on May 9. Over two-thirds of the Senate were co-sponsors of the legislation.

The bill signing ceremony was also attended by: Alabama native, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin; Birmingham Mayor William Bell; the Pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church, Reverend Arthur Price Jr.; the sister of Carole Robertson, Dianne Braddock; the sister of Denise McNair, Lisa McNair, and Denise McNair, the sister of Maxine McNair.

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Dianne Braddock said, “Thanks to Congresswoman Sewell and Congressman Bachus along with the entire Alabama delegation for wanting to have this recognition and for pursuing it in Congress as well as ensuring that the bill was passed by the house and Senate. I’m very grateful. I’m sure the country will be grateful for their vision and diligence in awarding this honor to the four little girls.”

Lisa McNair said, “What a glorious day. This makes us feel so good. We are so grateful to Congresswoman Sewell and Congressman Bachus for their continued efforts to pass this bill. It has also been such a pleasure to meet the first African-American President. I look forward to the ceremony in the fall.”
Hash Tags: Lisa McNair, Denise McNair, Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony, President Barack Obama, Rep. Spencer Bachus, Rep. Terri Sewell

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with over nine years at Alabama Political Reporter. During that time he has written 8,941 articles for APR. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.