Show the students the picture found at http://126.96.36.199/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/photo&CISOPTR=312&CISOBOX=1&R EC=7.
This photograph from the Alabama Department of Archives and History was taken by Anthony Falletta of the Birmingham News on September 15, 1963. Ask the students the following questions:
o “What do you think is happening in this picture?”
o “What could have caused the damage pictured in the photograph?”
o “Who do you see in the picture?”
o “Are any of those pictured acting in an official capacity? How do you know?”
o “What type of building do you think is pictured on the right side of the photograph?”
o “What type of building do you think is pictured on the left side of the photograph?”
o “Are there any clues as to the date the picture was taken?”
Tell the students that in this lesson they will learn about the events that led to this photograph being taken and about the aftermath of those events.
Step 1 Show slides one through three of the PowerPoint, “Birmingham, 1963, Fall Despair.” Ask, “Are there any foreshadowing words on slide three? If so, what are they?” Ask student to remember the content of slide three as they view the remainder of the PowerPoint.
Step 2 Show slides four and five. Ask the following questions:
• “What ‘political or social objectives’ do you believe the Klan hoped to achieve with this bombing?”
• “Why do you think the Klan chose this particular church for this act of violence?”
• “Why was the fuse time-delayed?”
• “Can you think of any other examples of domestic terrorism which have occurred in the United States?”
Step 3 Show slides six through eight. Allow time for reflection. Tell the students that these four young girls had gone in the restroom after Sunday school to get ready for the Sunday worship service. The restroom was directly under the dynamite. Ask the students, “What do you think these girls were talking about in the minutes before the blast?” Tell the students that dozens of church members were injured by flying debris, and at least twenty were so badly injured that they required hospitalization.
Step 4 Show slides nine through thirteen. Allow time for reflection after each slide. Ask the following questions:
• “What can you tell about the magnitude of the blast from these pictures?”
• “Who do you see in the picture? What are they doing?”
• “If you had been a photographer or reporter, what would your thoughts have been as you surveyed this scene?”
• “If you had been a member of that church, what would have been your reaction to the bombing?”
Tell the students that the minister of the church, the Reverend John H. Cross, picked up a megaphone and told the angry crowd to go home. Some sources say he then recited the Twenty-Third Psalm; others sources report that he prayed the “Lord’s Prayer.”
Step 5 Show slides fourteen and fifteen. Ask the students, “What irony is pictured in each of these two photographs?” Tell the students that the stained glass window shown on slide fifteen was the only stained glass window in the church that remained in its frame.
Step 6 Show slide sixteen. Ask the students, “Why do you think the police officer was never charged with a crime?”
Step 7 Show slides seventeen and eighteen. Ask the following questions:
• “How did Michael Farley’s and Larry Joe Sims’s attendance at a segregationist rally affect their later actions?”
• “Can you give other examples of unintended consequences or tragic results of someone’s actions?”
• “What event overshadowed the deaths of Johnny Robinson and Virgil Ware causing their deaths to be less well known?” Step 8 Show slide nineteen. Give students the opportunity to discuss “Bull” Conner’s comments.
Step 9 Show slide twenty. Give students time to predict how the outcome of Kennedy’s assassination might be related to the outcome of the church bombing.
Step 10 Show slides twenty-one and twenty-two. Ask the following questions:
• “Do you agree with King that good can come from evil? If yes, give an example.”
• “What does the phrase ‘but for Birmingham’ mean?”
Step 11 Show slide twenty-three. “How is the event pictured on this slide an outcome of the events in Birmingham in 1963?”