BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This week marks 60 years since a terrorist bombing tore through Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church, claiming the lives of four little girls.

In the spirit of remembrance, U.S. Representative Terri Sewell presented over $2 million in federal grants on Monday to preserve the historic Bethel Baptist Church and the historic St. Paul United Methodist Church. Both were critical sites during the Civil Rights Movement.

“If we don’t tell our stories, others will, and they may not get it right,” Sewell said.

Sewell first presented two checks totaling $1.5 million to Bethel Baptist. The money is part of $3.1 million in funding from the National Parks Service to preserve Alabama’s Civil Rights History.

“Six decades later, it has never been more critical to preserve and protect these stories so that future generations can learn from the sacrifices of our foremothers and forefathers,” Sewell said.

The funds will help the church fix its AC, heating, elevator and lighting, along with building a family life center in the community.

“We are extremely elated about the investment that’s made into our community … Rest assured that your investment is in good hands,” said Rev. Dr. Thomas Wilder, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church.

Sewell next presented $750,000 to the historic St. Paul United Methodist Church. The church plans to use the funds to build ADA restrooms, get new AC systems and establish a music program for kids and young people.

“We are grateful to the National Parks Service and grateful to [Rep. Sewell] and others who are committed to making sure this space and others like it are made available to future generations,” said Rev. Dr. Richard Lane Stryker III, pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church.