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Alabama Church Marks 50th Anniversary Of Bombing

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 10: Diane Robertson Braddock wears a necklace with the image of her sister, Carole Robertson, who was one of the four young girls who were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing during a ceremony to award the girls with the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Captiol September 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley were killed September 15, 1963 when members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The medal honors the girls' sacrifice and how it served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 10: Diane Robertson Braddock wears a necklace with the image of her sister, Carole Robertson, who was one of the four young girls who were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing during a ceremony to award the girls with the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Captiol September 10, 2013 in Washington, DC. Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley were killed September 15, 1963 when members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The medal honors the girls’ sacrifice and how it served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama church is marking the 50th anniversary of Ku Klux Klan bombing that claimed the lives of four young black girls.

The blast outside Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church on Sept. 15, 1963 became a landmark moment in the civil rights struggle.

Hundreds of people black and white filled the church this morning to hear the pastor teach the same Sunday school lesson that members of church heard the morning of the bombing — “A Love That Forgives.”

Later, attendees of an afternoon commemoration included Attorney General Eric Holder, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson, Rev. Joseph Lowery and director Spike Lee, who made a documentary about the bombing.

Holder called the girls’ deaths “a seminal and tragic moment” in U.S. history and recalled gains that followed their killings like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

Alluding to the Supreme Court decision this year that struck down a key part of the voting law, Holder reminded those gathered that the struggle continues decades later. He said it’s a fight “that we will continue.”

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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