Interview with Rev. Ralph Abernathy

Back to the specifics of Birmingham. Could you tell me about how you heard about the Sixteenth Street Church bombing, and you reaction to it?

Rev. Ralph Abernathy:

Yeah, I will tell you about it. I received a call, early in the morning, of the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, that I was terribly upset, because they told me that four little girls, while studying a Sunday School class, had been killed. And this news came to me while I was in the pulpit on the West 100th Street Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. You know Birmingham is on Central time and we are on Eastern Standard Time, and we are one hour ahead of Birmingham. Birmingham has always been behind times, and so, consequently, when it was Sunday School time in Birmingham, it was Worship time in Atlanta. So I was in the pulpit. I left the pulpit and received a call and discovered this awful tragedy. And I returned to the congregation and called for prayer, prayer for the families of these beautiful young girls who had been slain, prayer for their slayers [roll-out]in the spirit of love and the spirit of nonviolence.


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