Spike Lee’s ‘4 Little Girls’ film to be screened at Lyric and other venues, Sept. 14th.  [FREE]


Birmingham Alabama
Four Little Girls statue at the entrance of Kelly Ingram Park in front of 16th Street Baptist Church. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

On Thursday, September 14, the day before Birmingham and the world commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, there will be FREE screenings of Spike Lee’s Academy Award nominated film— 4 Little Girls.

The 1997 HBO documentary is about the September 15, 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s oldest black church that killed four young girls who were there for Sunday school. The crime shock the nation.

Hosted by The Morgan Project in partnership with Jefferson County Memorial Project, 16th Street Baptist Church, The National Park Service, Sidewalk Cinema Black Lens Spotlight, The City of Birmingham, and Kids in Birmingham 1963 — the first event with a speaker and showing of the documentary begins at noon in downtown Birmingham’s The Lyric Theatre. In the evening, the film will be shown again at 5:00PM at the Sidewalk Film Center with a 7:00PM  panel following.

Read on to learn how you can attend not only the screenings but also participate in  discussion about the film.

The Morgan Project – fostering racial justice and a unified Birmingham

Birmingham, 16th Street Baptist Church
16th Street Baptist Church on July 15 2020. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church has been called one of the darkest moments in U.S. history. There will be events throughout Birmingham commemorating the event including an address by the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

“The 60th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing serves as a solemn reminder of the tragic costs of racial hatred and violence in Birmingham’s past, said Rachel Gandy,  Executive Director of The Morgan Project.

The day after the bombing that murdered Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair—The Morgan Project’s namesake Charles Morgan, in a speech to the Young Men’s Business Club (YMBC) condemned the city’s’ white middle-class community for being responsible for the murder of the 4 young girls. Months following the speech, he was driven out of town.

In 2020, The Morgan Project was founded by YMBC members whose mission is to teach civil rights through Birmingham’s history of conflict and courage.

Added Gandy, “I believe this anniversary aligns closely with our organization’s mission and provides an opportunity for us to renew our commitment to racial justice, reconciliation, and uplifting marginalized voices. By facilitating open dialogue, collaborating with youth, and advocating for equity in policy, TMP can help carry forth the legacy of the four little girls toward a more just and unified Birmingham.”

Where & when you can watch the 4 Little Girls documentary

The Lyric
Lyric Theatre after re-development. (Birmingham Landmarks)
Sidewalk welcomes Sundance Film Festival
Sidewalk Cinema at the Pizitz. (Matthew Niblett/Bham Now)

Interested in attending one or both events?

Here are the locations of the showings and ticket details:

The Lyric Theatre—Thursday, September 14—Doors open at 11:30AM. At Noon, Christopher Paul Curtis, the celebrated author of The Watsons Go To Birmingham: 1963 will be in attendance to address the residents of Birmingham before the screening Curtis’ book, a Newbery Honoree tells the story of a family from Flint, Michigan, and their unforgettable journey that leads them to Birmingham. The screening begins at 12:30PM

In addition to members of the public, the matinee screening will be open to area students, grades 9-12. School groups interested in attending need not register, but are asked to email admin@morganproject.org.The National Park Service will cover the cost of transportation for Title I schools.

Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema—The Morgan Project will also host two additional screenings of 4 Little Girls in the evening at Sidewalk Cinema.  There will be a video introduction by director Spike Lee preceding the screenings and a conversation after the film about where Birmingham finds itself 60 years later, with panelists:

  • Charles Morgan, III
  • Dr. Carolyn McKinstry
  • Lisa McNair

There are only a few tickets available. Community members who wish to attend this event may visit the Sidewalk Film Center and Cinema box office on the day of the event to claim free tickets that may become available.

Visit www.morganproject.com to register for tickets to this FREE commemorative event.

Birmingham can be a model of equity 

16th Street Baptist Church
16th Baptist Church at sunset in 2021 (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Birmingham will never forget the bombing that occurred now six decades ago at the 16th Baptist Church. Join the Morgan Project and its partners on Thursday, September 14th in remembering the Four Little Girls through Spike Lee’s powerful 4 Little Girls documentary and the presentation before and after the film. 

The Morgan Project board member Martha Cook summed up the importance of the film and the discussions. 

“With honesty and collaboration, Birmingham can be a model of equity and inspire communities everywhere.”

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

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