As a hub of worship among the Black community and meeting grounds for civil rights leaders, the 16th Street Baptist Church became a primary target for Ku Klux Klan members. The bomb went off at 10:22am on the east side of church building, stopping the scheduled 11:00am service. The explosion was the third to happen in 11 days, â€œjust after a federal court order had come down mandating the integration of Alabama's school system.â€ Without question, outrage poured throughout the streets of the Heart of Dixieâ€™s largest city. Countless protests and violence swarmed the hearts of thousands as the Black community came together to mourn the loss of four innocent girls.
The FBI was informed of the KKKâ€™s involvement in the church bombing in 1965, specifically focused on Klan leader, Robert E. Chambliss. But because former president J. Edgar Hoover was head of the government organization during the initial investigation, no leads were followed in the case because he didnâ€™t believe in the Civil Rights Movement. It wasnâ€™t until 1977, five years after Hooverâ€™s death, that Alabama Attorney General Bob Baxley chose to reopen the 16 Street Church bombing case. Chambliss was convicted of murder later that year, but didnâ€™t live to see 10 years of sentence. He died in 1985.