Gov. Ivey issues apology to 16th Street Baptist Church bombing survivor

Local News

FILE – In this Nov. 16, 2016 file photo, Sarah Collins Rudolph and her husband, George Rudolph, discuss their worries about the upcoming Donald Trump presidency in their home in Birmingham, Ala.. Rudolph, the survivor of the 1963 church bombing that killed four little girls, is seeking an apology and restitution from the state of Alabama. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Gov. Kay Ivey has issued an apology to one of the survivors of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963.

Sarah Collins Rudolph, known as the “fifth little girl,” survived the blast that killed four girls nearly 60 years ago.

Rudolph’s attorney, Ishan K. Bhabha sent a letter asking for an apology from Gov. Ivey, arguing that the words of state leaders, including former Gov. George Wallace, at the time encouraged the racial violence that led to the bombing.

“…there should be no question that the racist, segregationist rhetoric used by some of our leaders during that time was wrong and would be utterly unacceptable in today’s Alabama,” Gov. Ivey said in the letter. “For that, [the victims] most certainly deserve a sincere, heartfelt apology–an apology that I extend today without hesitation or reservation.”

Along with an apology from the state of Alabama, the letter sent to the governor asks for compensation for the 69-year-old Rudolph. The bombing left shard of glass in her body that are still there, she also lost her right eye.

“Her life was put on a fundamentally different track in an instant as a little girl,” Bhabha said.

Gov. Ivey said in the letter that compensation will need to be reviewed, considered and discussed before action is taken.



Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.