50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Movement

Floor Speech

By:  Terri Sewell
Date: Jan. 23, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

Ms. SEWELL of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, this year marks the 50th commemoration of the city of Birmingham's pivotal role in the civil rights movement. We are declaring 2013 as the Year of Birmingham in order to honor the historic events that occurred in our city in 1963. The city of Birmingham serves as a reminder to the rest of the world that, out of despair, there is hope and that justice does, indeed, prevail.

My good friend Congressman Spencer Bachus and I, along with the entire Alabama delegation, plan to ask this august body to bestow, on a bipartisan basis, its highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, to the four little girls who tragically lost their lives during the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. We believe it is befitting that during this year, 2013, we posthumously pay tribute to Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair, for they have truly paid the ultimate sacrifice.

They are, indeed, emblematic of so many citizens of Birmingham who lost their lives for the cause of freedom. They represent all of those citizens and all of those who fought so hard and courageously, black and white, to make sure that we in this Nation hold up its ideals of equality for all.

I ask that this august body work with Spencer Bachus and the entire Alabama delegation to bipartisanly support and bestow upon them the Congressional Medal of Honor.