Today in Legal History: KKK bombs Church in Alabama

On September 15, 1963, members of the Klu Klux Klan bombed a predominantly African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. The blast at the 16th Street Baptist Church killed four young girls and injured twenty other people. Despite an investigation by the F.B.I., no one was charged with responsibility for the crime until Robert Chambliss was convicted of murder in 1977. His accomplices, Thomas Blaton, Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry, were not tried and convicted until about twenty-five years later.

Learn more about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing from NPR.

Today in Legal History: Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act

From WikipediaOn July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the historic Civil Rights Act, which outlawed segregation in businesses, public places, and banned discriminatory practices in employment.  In 1963, President John F. Kennedy proposed civil rights legislation, and after his assassination, Johnson vowed to carry out civil rights reform.  Passage of the act was not easy.  The act faced opposition in the House and a filibuster in the Senate before it was passed, providing for equal treatment of all peoples regardless of race.

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Today in Legal History: KKK bombs Church in Alabama

On September 15, 1963, members of the Klu Klux Klan bombed a predominantly African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. The blast at the 16th Street Baptist Church killed four young girls and injured twenty other people. Despite an investigation by the F.B.I., no one was charged with responsibility for the crime until Robert Chambliss was convicted of murder in 1977. His accomplices, Thomas Blaton, Jr. and Bobby Frank Cherry, were not tried and convicted until about twenty-five years later.

Learn more about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing from NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1431932

Today in Legal History: Brown v. Board of Education Decided

On May 17, 1954, in a monumental civil rights victory, the U. S. Supreme Court unanimously decided in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. The court argued that segregation of children based solely on race denied black children equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.  The “separate but equal doctrine handed down by the court in Plessy v. Fergson (163 U.S. 537), had been applied in three federal district courts’ decisions to uphold segregation in public schools. The Supreme Court, however, argued that the segregated schools could never be “equal” as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and were therefore unconstitutional.

A year later, the Supreme Court published procedures requiring all public school systems to fully integrate. The Brown v. Board of Education decision significantly aided the civil rights movement, and eventually led to the desegregation of all public facilities.

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