On 15 September 1963 a bomb exploded in the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The ensuing fire and death of four little girls placed the violence of white supremacy on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers. It also entered the 16th Street Church into a long history of attacks against houses of worship in the American South. Though churches burn for any number of reasons, including accident and insurance fraud, church arson in southern culture has frequently been associated with a symbolic assault on a community’s core institution.

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From The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 19: Violence edited by Amy Louise Wood. Copyright © 2011 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. www.uncpress.unc.edu

Find online at http://www.uncpress.unc.edu/browse/book_detail?title_id=2225

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