Racial bombings were so frequent in Birmingham that it became known as “Bombingham.” Until September 15, 1963, these attacks had been threatening but not deadly. On that Sunday morning, however, a blast in the 16th Street Baptist Church ripped through the exterior wall and claimed the lives of four girls. The church was the ideal target for segregationists, as it was the rallying place for Birmingham’s African American community, Martin Luther King, Jr., using it as his “headquarters” when he was in town to further the cause of desegregation and equal rights. Rather than triggering paralyzing fear, the bombing was the definitive act that guaranteed passage of the landmark 1964 civil rights legislation. Birmingham Sunday centers on this fateful day and places it in historical context.
"Brimner focuses on the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and successfully illuminates in chronological order the events, social tensions and political reverberations of that terror-filled time. Beginning with personal information about each of the four girls killed in the blast, he then introduces powerful figures or groups, some not well known, on both sides of the Civil Rights Movement. They are brought to life with information gleaned from various primary sources including FBI reports, police surveillance files, court transcripts and oral-history accounts. Each victim of the bombing and each advocate emerges for readers through quotes, black-and-white photographs and engaging, descriptive prose. Sidebars provide related information about the Movement and augment the highly accessible text. On the final pages are profiles of those responsible for the brutal bombing and the justice they finally received. A standout book for its thorough research and comprehensive look at the incident that led to the 1964 passage of civil-rights legislation. (further reading, author's note, source notes, picture credits)"
School Library Journal awards Larry Dane Brimner's Birmingham Sunday with a starred review."The author successfully blends the facts of the event with the intense emotions of the period in order to bring it to life. ...The book is beautifully designed, with good-quality, black-and-white photos, informative captions, and pertinent pull quotes. A worthy addition to any collection."