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Sikora, Frank. Until Justice Rolls Down: The Birmingham Church Bombing Case.

SIKORA, Frank. Until justice rolls down; the Birmingham Church bombing case. Rev. ed. Univ. of Alabama, Fire Ant Books. 266p. illus, index, c2005.0-8173-5268-6. $20.00. JSA*

Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1960s--in the opinion of most historians--was arguably America's most segregated city. Moreover, it was becoming one of America's most dangerous cities; Birmingham was known by civil rights activists as "Bombingham" because of the Ku Klux Klan's campaign of terrorism through the bombing of black residences, businesses, and churches. Then, on one grim Sunday in September 1963, Americans were horrified by the news of an especially brutal crime in that volatile Southern city. Dynamite exploded in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, and the explosion ended the lives of four 14-year-old black girls: Addle Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair.

Until Justice Rolls Down is the richly detailed and scrupulously documented story of the senseless bombing, the perverse madness of the Klan's terrorism, and the investigation that led to the relatively swift prosecution and conviction of one Klansman. More significantly, though, Sikora's spellbinding account is also the story of the renewed probe into the case almost a quarter of a century later; through the renewed efforts of the FBI, the US Attorney's office, the Birmingham police department, and the Jefferson County District Attorney's office, two more Klansmen were finally convicted. Using court records, newspaper accounts, FBI records, and oral interviews, Sikora, a career journalist who retired recently from the Birmingham News, has given readers a fascinating story of justice delayed but, fortunately, not denied.

More than an incredibly powerful narrative history and a scathing indictment of the Klan's racist terrorism, Until Justice Rolls Down is a moving tribute to the dedicated prosecutors and law enforcement officials who would not rest until they could cause "justice to roll down like water." No student of American history and the civil rights movement can afford to miss this important book. Tim Davis, Adjunct Instructor of Lit., Univ. of W. Florida, Pensacola, FL
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Author:Davis, Tim
Article Type:Children's review
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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