Sixteenth Street Baptist Church has been added to the African American Civil Rights Network, a National Park Service network of sites and programs significant to the African American Civil Rights Movement, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell announced today.
The church joins other Alabama sites in the network, including the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument in Birmingham, the Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site and the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site in Tuskegee.
“The 16th Street Baptist Church is honored to be named as part of the National Park Service African American Civil Rights Network,” said the Rev. Arthur Price, pastor of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. “This will help us to continue the preservation and restoration of the Historic 16th Street Baptist Church. The 16th Street Baptist Church is more than the building, it is a place where lessons were taught, lives were touched and this land was transformed. We are grateful to Congresswoman Sewell for her tireless advocacy on our behalf and for fighting daily for the preservation of our culture’s history. We count it a privilege to continue to show the world God’s redemptive power in the midst of human struggle and the tragedies endured here in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement. This will ensure that the 16th Street Baptist Church legacy remains strong.”
Sewell said the network was established to honor the sacrifices made during the Civil Rights Movement, and to ensure the protection of its history through the preservation of key landmarks.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair, the four little girls whose lives were tragically taken in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing during our nation’s struggle for civil rights,” Sewell said. “The sacrifice of these four little girls and of the countless courageous Foot Soldiers of the movement has given me the strength and courage to pursue my own dreams. I am deeply committed to preserving these historic spaces in the hopes that their stories will inspire boys and girls for generations to come, just as they have inspired me.”