Sarah Collins and the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing (Update)

On December 17, 2012, I wrote a post that attempted to link the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that occurred on December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that occurred on September 15, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. In that post, I included a picture of Sarah Collins, one of the survivors who was in the ladies lounge with the four girls who were killed when the bomb exploded. Here is the photograph that I used in that earlier post [You can find this photograph in The Movement: Documentary of a Struggle for Equality (text by Lorraine Hansberry). I found the book at Amazon at a very low cost–though the copies available on Amazon’s site now are pretty pricey]:

Sarah Collins, Addie Mae Collins's sister, the one survivor present in the ladies lounge when the bomb's explosion ripped through the bathroom.
Sarah Collins, Addie Mae Collins’s sister, the one survivor present in the ladies lounge when the bomb’s explosion ripped through the bathroom.

NPR has a short feature about Sarah Collins Rudolph on their website that is worth your time. The story chronicles her long hospital stay as well as the physical and psychological damages Collins suffered. The story also notes the financial costs of her survival: “Medical bills […] have mounted over the years as Collins worked in factories and cleaning houses–mostly without health insurance.”

Sarah Collins Rudolph today.
Sarah Collins Rudolph today.

Collins sought financial assistance from the Birmingham City Council, but has not received any support. Though Birmingham Mayor William Bell claims that he is not heartless and recognizes her suffering, he contends that no legal obligation exists for the city to act…perhaps the Mayor has never heard of compassion, empathy, or simply morality as a motivating force.

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