Button Sunday

Four little girls
Who went to Sunday School that day
And never came back home at all…

the first lines of Langston Hughes’s poem “Birmingham Sunday”

It was on a Sunday fifty years ago today when a bomb planted by segregationists exploded in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Addie Mae Collins, 14; Denise McNair, 11; Carole Robertson, 14; and Cynthia Wesley, 14, died while studying their lesson in their Sunday school class.

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10 thoughts on “Button Sunday”

    1. That song was written by her brother-in-law Richard Fariña–he died only three years after that.

      The entire Langston Hughes poem is more disturbing than Fariña’s haunting song. That’s why I put only the first few lines.

      1. Have you ever seen 4 Little Girls the documentary by Spike Lee? I don’t know if documentaries are your thing – if they are watch it, it is amazing.

        What amazes me is that all of this happened so close to my life time, and while things are FAR from being perfect, very FAR – things are definitely not what they used to be.

        I can remember being in the car with my Dad and him pointing out the “black high school” And for the life of me I didn’t know what he meant, and I asked if it was because the walls were painted black or something and he said “that’s exactly the reason.”

    2. Also, some trivia. When my apartment was robbed back in the Jurassic age, one LP from a Joan Baez double live album (“From Every Stage”) was on the turntable of the stereo they stole. =(

          1. I totally agree. When the other record broke from one of the double albums of my youth, I cried and tried to survive with half of a double album, only to kick rocks all the way to the record store and get a new copy. Yes, technically, this left me with 1.5 albums. How frustrating.

            1. At the time I was robbed, I was barely able to subsist as a graduate student on the money I was making. So nothing that was stolen was replaced, not even Joan.

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