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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Photos and stories are all Lisa McNair has known of her sister Denise. Fifty years after her death, Congress is bestowing the highest civilian honor on her and the three other girls who died in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15th, 1963.
“I believe that everything is done in God’s timing and in his order. And so this is when he wanted this to happen and how he wanted it to happen and I just thank God that it did,” said Lisa McNair. “I’m very pleased that people thought enough to put the girls’ names up for the Congressional Gold Medal. And I think it’s a great way to keep, you know, memorializing in history even further so people will remember what happened to them and hopefully not repeat that history of hate and anger.”
At a vigil in Kelly Ingram Park across the street from the 16th Street Baptist Church, Augusta Thomas tells the crowd the world is better because of the sacrifices made by the four little girls and others during the civil rights movement.
“Looking at the statute of Martin Luther King Junior, I used to call him little Martin, it looks like he’s standing right here,” said Augusta Thomas. “And if you listen to his speech that he gave 50 years ago, August the 28th of this year, you would be relieved.”
“I got knocked off the stool. I got spit on. I got kicked. I got hit with sticks. I went to jail a number of times. But it didn’t make any difference. I got right back up on and sat on the stool. So I sat, so this generation could stand,” said Thomas.