The Tragic Story Of The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing
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In order to make sure the explosion would be as devastating as possible, the bombers used a lot of dynamite. According to History, they used at least 10 to 15 sticks of the powerful explosive, all of them hidden underneath the stairs at the back of the church. The blast was so devastating that, in addition to knocking out most of the bathroom wall near the stairs, it created a massive crater in the basement. Shrapnel and debris from the exploding building blanketed the area, and a passing motorist was thrown out of his car. The windows of the surrounding buildings were shattered, and any cars parked near the church were completely destroyed. In “Crimes and Trials of the Century,” Steve Chermak explains that even people 30 blocks away could hear the explosion and that nearly all of the stained glass windows in the church, except one dramatic piece, were shattered.

After the explosion, people started to stumble out of the church, dazed, and a few of them likely concussed. Immediately, bystanders and civil defense workers started to search the debris for any sign of life, and some of the victims were so covered in glass and blood that they were unrecognizable. According to the Birmingham Post-Herald, none of the previous bombings in Alabama since 1955 had resulted in any deaths, but the 16th Street Baptist Church became the one tragic exception.

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