Kelly Ingram Park rich with history, statues depicting civil rights movement

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This week, people across the country are set to converge on Birmingham to remember the moment that many believed led to the true civil rights legislations – the bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

As a part of Empowerment Week, they’ll look back on the four lives lost and question how far Birmingham has come since those dark days.

In Kelly Ingram Park, which is located across the street from the church, statues bring the history from that time to life.

There’s a statue of Martin Luther King Jr., who is traditionally known as the father of the of the civil rights movement.

He worked hand-in-hand with Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, whose statue stands across the street at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

The two men choreographed Birmingham’s Project C – the confrontation between police and young demonstrators. Those young people’s stories are also reflected in the park’s statues.

One statue depicts a teen being attacked by one of the infamous police commissioner and segregationist Bull Connor’s dogs.  Another statue is of children being jailed or water cannons that caused some to brace for being knocked down by the forceful water from fire hoses.

There’s also a statue depicting three pastors kneeling to pray: Reverend N.H. Smith Junior, Reverend A.D. King and Reverend John Porter. The three prayed during a Palm Sunday protest that ended with a confrontation with Birmingham police and dogs.

Now, though, the countdown is building to the unveiling of a new statue, one dedicated to the four girls kill in the bombing.

To view a full list of the events click here.

Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42

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