Birmingham, Ala. (WIAT) — Lisa McNair put out the call and places of worship have responded.
This year Lisa McNair is spearheading a local effort to get churches and synagogues around the city involved in remembering Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair.
“I didn’t come up with it. Someone I know shared with me that in New York for 9/11 they ring bells for the people who died and she was like you all should do that for the people in Birmingham to remember the girls,” McNair, Denise’s sister, said.
So far, at least eleven have responded saying yes they will answer her call and ring church bells, or blow the shofar, to remember the four girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing on September 15th, 1963.
“We feel like it’s our ministry, it’s what we are here to do, to keep Denise’s name alive. It’s so important but that’s part of some of the history that is not shared in history books and their lives were such a sacrifice,” McNair said.
For all of Lisa’s life the McNair family has shared all they could about Denise’s short life.
“The items that the funeral home shared with us, they were the last effects from the day she died. Her purse, her shoes, her handkerchief,” McNair said. “There’s a piece of concrete that was embedded in her forehead when my parents had to identify her and that’s here. That’s a tangible of what hate looks like and what racism looks like and we have to fight against that.”
McNair said she’s using the unity of bells to fight against hate and remember the four little girls whose deaths changed America.
The following locations have said they will ring out bells in honor the four girls lost in the bombing:
- Independent Presbyterian Church
- Dawson Memorial Baptist Church
- Temple Beth El (Shofar)
- St. Mary’s on Highlands
- Baptist Church of the Covenant
- First Presbyterian Church Downtown
- Pilgrim UMC Church
- Highlands United Methodist Church
- Edgewood Presbyterian
- Cahaba Springs Presbyterian Church in Trussville