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“Four Little Girls” Given Congressional Gold Medal

young girls killed in the 1963 church bombing
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

“Four little girls” received in death Friday one of the country’s highest civilian awards, as the nation’s first African American president honored some of the youngest victims in the historic fight for equal rights.

In the Oval Office, President Obama signed a bill designating the Congressional Gold Medalto the four girls killed on Sept. 15, 1963, when the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was bombed by a group of Ku Klux Klan members.

The girls’ names were Addie Mae Collins, 14; Denise McNair, 11; Carole Robertson, 14; and Cynthia Wesley, 14. They died inside their Sunday school classrooms when dynamite, set to explode by a timer, blew up the African American church.

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