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Church Bombing Survivor Visits Andover Newton

Thursday, May 01, 2014

7:00 PM

Sarah Collins Rudolph was the “fifth little girl” hurt in the 1963 blast in Birmingham, Alabama.

More than 50 years after the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, racial tensions still divide Americans. This May the “fifth little girl” who survived the bombing that killed her sister and three other children, Sarah Collins Rudolph, will visit Andover Newton Theological School.

Join the Andover Newton community on Thursday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in Wilson Chapel to hear Rudolph’s story. The evening will also feature music by the LoveTones, from Myrtle Baptist Church.

The story of the bombing has been told before, notably in Spike Lee’s documentary Four Little Black Girls. Less well known is the story of Rudolph, who was 12 years old when the bombing killed her sister and blinded her in one eye. Post-traumatic stress disorder and memory loss, in addition to the physical injuries, derailed her dreams of becoming a nurse.

Rudolph’s testimony concluded the state’s evidence in the 2002 trial of the Ku Klux Klansman accused of the bombing. She and her husband, George Rudolph, live in Forestdale, Alabama.

The bombing took place at a time when African Americans were struggling to secure their right to vote. That fight continues today, with states such as North Carolina passing new laws that make it harder for racial minorities, retirees, and college student to vote.

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