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50 years ago, white supremacists planted a bomb under the steps of a Birmingham, Ala., church that killed four young girls preparing for worship. A group of congressional lawmakers is seeking to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the four black schoolgirls who died in the explosion on Sunday, September 15, 1963 at the 16th street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. The Congressional Gold Medal is said to be the highest civilian honor that Congress can present.

The Congressional Gold Medal will be presented posthumously to the four girls,  Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair. Dr. Martin Luther King, JR delivered the eulogy at the girls’ funeral.

The bombing proved to be an important moment in the civil rights movement. Within a year, Congress passed the landmark  Civil Rights Act of 1964 and, a year later, the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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