AU Press Releases

AU to mark Alabama bombing anniversary with Sunday rememberance program

The impact of the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL rippled throughout the country and forever altered the course of civil rights history. Nearly 1,000 miles away, students from Alfred University (AU) will mark Sunday’s 50th anniversary of the incident by illustrating the connectedness of this event to past, present, and future. 

The University’s program will take place outside the AU’s Powell Campus Center beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday. A performance by the Kingdom Culture Gospel Choir will precede remarks by area religious organization leaders. The event is free and participation is open to the public. 

Dan Napolitano, AU director of the Drawn to Diversity program and student activities, explained the University’s remembrance event will also feature a timeline of DOTS (Dates Of True Significance) ranging from the establishment of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1873, through the 1963 bombings, over the vast expanse of years before the bombers were held accountable, and winding down with this week’s national ceremony awarding posthumous Congressional medals to the four young victims and their families. Participants will connect these dots with brightly colored yarn to show the progression of events and reveal a huge image outline. The stringing of the yarn and creation of the images will begin by 2:30 p.m.

The notably close proximity of the March on Washington, just 18 days before the bombing, leads participants to reflect on the optimistic state of civil rights followed by the horrific act of Klu Klux Klan retribution days later, said Napolitano.

“Physically connecting the past to the present allows participants the opportunity to reflect and gain perspective on the last 50 years,” he said, noting the Drawn to Diversity program uses community-based art to promote equality and reduce violence. “Significant anniversaries such as those of the civil rights movement should not simply be ‘observed’ but engaging enough to realize the impact they had on our lives today.” Questions may be directed to Napolitano at