This post “Historical Travel With Kids – Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church” was sponsored by 16fh St Baptist Church on behalf of Visit Alabama. All opinions expressed are my own. For more information on our sponsored post and/or affiliate link policy, please click here.
One of the things that people so often forget is that the terrible events in our collective history did not only happen to adults. There were children involved in every part of the Civil Right’s movement, in fact, one of the biggest events that spurred the movement on was the murder of Emmet Till, a young man from Chicago visiting his family down south when he was kidnapped and murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church
The history of the civil right’s movement cannot be spoken about without involving children, whether they were marching alongside their parents, sitting in at lunch counters, or being spit on and cursed as they attempted to integrate schools. Children, just like adults were subjected to violence and lynching. Their lives were forever impacted by the hatred of people who didn’t care about their lives at all.
Besides the murder of Emmet Till, one of the most terrifying occurrences during the civil right’s movement occurred at the 16th Street Baptist Church. The church was the main hub for organizers looking to keep the fight for justice going until on a September Sunday in 1963, terrorists bombed the church, leaving four little girls dead, a fifth would survive the blast. That bombing shocked the nation and the world and forced people (black and white) stand up and pay attention.
It was critical that during our time in Alabama that Reese and I stopped to see this church. I teach my daughter that she has the ability to change the world no matter what her age is. These four little girls were able to change the course of the lives of African American people all over the nation. To be able to tour the church where this took place was an incredible opportunity to illustrate that point to Reese further. Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church
The history of our people is so often limited to slavery and emancipation when we talk about it in schools, but our history did not end there. Seeing this church and places like it are important because it shows us that hatred does not care whether you are an adult or an innocent child. It just seeks to destroy whatever strays into its path.
I have talked about how important it is to share our history with our children before, and it really cannot be emphasized enough. When it comes to African American history, it is frequently glossed over if not completely ignored by the people who write our children’s textbooks. As a black child in school, that can become very frustrating. When you know your history and you hear it taught incompletely or incorrectly, it is difficult not to speak up. This may cause a little stir in the classroom, but it is critical for our children to know what really happened. After all, if you don’t know history we are doomed to repeat it. Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church
Touring the Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church is a powerful educational experience and I urge you to add it to your list of must-see things to do in Alabama. It’s a great resource for opening the lines of communication in regard to racism. We were truly touched by this experience and it’s something Reese nor I will ever forget.
Looking For More Historical and Educational Sites To Visit While In Alabama? Check out our post “72 Hours in Alabama”