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16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Bronze Medal - United States Mint

16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Bronze Medal

The Honorees

The 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Bronze Medal is a duplicate of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to commemorate the lives of:

  • Addie Mae Collins
  • Denise McNair
  • Carole Robertson
  • Cynthia Wesley

Fifty years ago, the senseless and premature death of these four little black girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, galvanized the civil rights movement and sparked a surge of momentum that helped secure enactment of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. On that tragic Sunday, September 15, 1963, the world took notice of the violence inflicted in the struggle for civil rights—that four innocent children lost their lives as they prepared for Sunday school shook the world's conscience.

The 16th Street Baptist Church remains a powerful symbol of the movement for civil and human rights, and the ultimate sacrifices made by Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley are emblematic of many others who have lost their lives for the causes of freedom and equality. Their legacy will live on for generations to come.

The Medal

The designs for the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Congressional Gold Medal and bronze duplicates were selected by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

Obverse Design of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Bronze Medal
Obverse of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Bronze Medal
Reverse Design of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Bronze Medal
Reverse of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing Victims Bronze Medal

The obverse (heads side), designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Barbara Fox and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz, features the silhouette of four young girls, representing those killed on September 15, 1963. The victims' names, ADDIE MAE COLLINS, DENISE McNAIR, CAROLE ROBERTSON, and CYNTHIA WESLEY, are inscribed around the border of the design. The quote PIVOTAL IN THE STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY and additional inscriptions SEPTEMBER 15 and 1963 are incused across the silhouettes.

The reverse (tails), designed by AIP Master Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna, depicts a view of the 16th Street Baptist Church with the quote KILLED IN THE BOMBING OF THE 16TH ST. BAPTIST CHURCH to the left of the image. Additional inscriptions are ACT OF CONGRESS 2013 and BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA.

Design, Authority, and Location

Obverse: Barbara Fox (Designer), Jim Licaretz (Engraver)
Reverse: Donna Weaver (Designer), Joseph Menna (Engraver)
Struck Under Authority of: Public Law 113-11
Place Struck: United States Mint at Philadelphia

Additional Information

The Department of the Treasury Seal
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