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Alabama Governor Apologizes for 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey offered a “sincere, heartfelt apology” to one of the survivors of the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that claimed the lives of four Black girls.

In the letter addressed Wednesday to Sarah Collins Rudolph, who was blinded in one eye in the Ku Klux Klan-related attack, Ivey said she had instructed her general counsel to begin discussions about compensation, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

“It would seem to me that beginning these conversations — without prejudice for what any final outcome might produce but with a goal of finding mutual accord — would be a natural extension of my Administration’s ongoing efforts to foster fruitful conversations about the all-too-difficult — and sometimes painful — topic of race, a conversation occurring not only in Alabama but throughout America,” the Republican governor wrote.

Alison Stein, an attorney for Rudolph, said in a statement Wednesday they looked forward to engaging in discussions regarding compensation.

“Ms. Collins Rudolph justly deserves after the loss of her beloved sister and for the pain, suffering and lifetime of missed opportunities resulting from the bombing,” the statement said.

The Sept. 15, 1963, bombing killed Addie Mae Collins, 14; Carol McNair, 11; Carole Robertson, 14; and Cynthia Wesley, 14, who were changing into their choir robes.

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