16th Street Baptist Church

Birmingham, United States

16th Street Baptist Church

The 16th Street Baptist Church is a Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. In 1963, the church was bombed by Ku Klux Klan members. The bombing killed four young girls in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. The church is still in operation and is a central landmark in the Birmingham Civil Rights District. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2006. Since 2008, it has also been on the UNESCO list of tentative World Heritage Sites.

The 16th Street Baptist Church was organized as the First Colored Baptist Church of Birmingham in 1873. It was the first black church to organize in Birmingham, which was founded just two years before. The first meetings were held in a small building at 12th Street and Fourth Avenue North. A site was soon acquired on 3rd Avenue North between 19th and 20th Street for a dedicated building. In 1880, the church sold that property and built a new church on the present site on 16th Street and 6th Avenue North. The new brick building was completed in 1884 under the supervision of its pastor, William R. Pettiford, but in 1908, the city condemned the structure and ordered it to be demolished. Pettiford was pastor from 1883 to 1904.

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