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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For 50 years people have come to Birmingham to see the spot where four girls died, soon they’ll be able see the hope and promise of their lives in a new memorial.
Surviving family members of the church bombing victims surrounded President Obama in the White House for one of the nations highest honors.
He signed a Congressional Gold Medal bill honoring Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Denise McNair, and Addie Mae Collins… This 50 years later, while the world watched.
The story Carolyn McKinstry tells in her book is what sparked attorney Chervis Isom to inquire about how the girls were honored?
“I called her on the phone it was a little awkward this white guys calling Carolyn to talk with her about it…I told her how much I enjoyed the book, but I asked her has a memorial been done since your I book she said not that I’m aware of.” That was the first call…there would be many more.
“I thought he is just not going to let this alone. But he kept calling and kept calling then one day I said let me put on some clothes and go to this meeting he keeps talking about at the Norwood Community Center.”
They would go on to form the Four Spirits Committee…issue a call for artist to submit their work, and select winning sculptor Elizabeth Macqueens tribute to honor their lives at the entrance to Kelly Ingram Park.
“I think it’s crucial where there girls are evident that they are right there for everyone to see so that we don’t forget…let us never forget.”
Former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones is on the board with Four Spirits Incorporated…the group spearheading the movement for the memorial.
The artist Elizabeth Macqueen says she wants the memorial to be about hope…”You prosecuted two of the bombers decades after the explosion and that was celebrated, how much more with this memorial be celebrated?”