BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Friday marks 60 years since the Ku Klux Klan bombed 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
On September 15, 1963, the KKK planted a bomb at the church, resulting in the injury of over a dozen people and the death of four girls: Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins.
This week, Bethel Baptist Church will host a conference to promote “community healing” leading up to the anniversary of this event.
Like its title,“There IS A Balm In Gilead: Healing From The Events Of 1963,” which references Old Testament themes and a traditional African American spiritual about healing, the sessions will focus on healing from racial trauma and conflict resolution.
The sessions will feature keynote speakers Dr. Tony Evans, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Dallas, TX; Kevin Lindsey, Chief Executive Officer of the Minnesota Humanities Center; Elizabeth Silkes, President of the International Sites of Consciousness; Dr. Hassan Jefferies, author of Bloody Lowndes; and others.
Pastor Thomas Wilder Jr., who pastors Bethel Baptist Church, said the event will have “various panelists to look at healing from various different aspects.” He said this will include economic, spiritual, intergenerational, mental and emotional points of view on the path to healing.
“We’ll look at it from every aspect that we can look at it, hoping that if we do that, then some people will get the start in what they need in terms of healing,” Wilder said.
He said the healing process is ongoing and “very necessary.”
“It’s very important that we try to come together to do it because sometimes trying to do it on your own is just very, very difficult,” Wilder said.
The conference will take place from September 12 to 14 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. For more information or to register for the event, visit the conference’s website here.