Due to rising regional and national cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic, all Smithsonian museums, including the National Zoo, will temporarily close to the public starting Monday, Nov. 23. We are not announcing a reopening date at this time.
Eighteen days after Martin Luther King delivered his stirring "I Have a Dream" speech before tens of thousands at the March on Washington, 400 parishioners gathered for Sunday services in the Birmingham, Alabama, church that recently had served as the headquarters for King's desegregation initiatives in that city. At 10:22 a.m. on September 15, 1963, dynamite planted by white extremists ripped through the basement of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing Sunday school students Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robinson, and Cynthia Wesley. As grieving families and congregants mourned these young victims of racial hatred, civil rights activists assembled in Birmingham to attend the girls' funeral. Among those present were Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) leaders Julian Bond (second from left) and John Lewis (third from right), who were captured in this image by SNCC photographer Danny Lyon as they stood across the street from the bomb-blasted church.