Local groups beautify grave sites of 16th Street Baptist Church bombing victims [PHOTOS]

4 Little girls
Four Little Girls Jack and Jill Memorial at Greenwood Cemetery (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Thanks to a grant from the Jack and Jill of America Foundation, contributions from community members and resources provided by the Home Depot in Eastwood, The Ballard House Project, Inc. has beautified the burial sites of the young victims of the 1963 horrific bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church.

The Ballard House: A sacred space

4 Little Girls historical marker at Greenwood Cemetery (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

According to Majella Chube Hamilton, Executive Director of The Ballard House Project, Inc, The Ballard House worked closely with the families to beautify the burial sites of the four victims. 

“This is sacred space. With generous grant funds provided by Jack and Jill of America Foundation, The Ballard House Project initiated this beautification project with the approval of the City of Birmingham and the families to honor their legacy within the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. Our hope is to provide beauty, peace, and comfort to the families, while undergirding education and inspiration for area residents and families who may learn about their sacrifice and transformational impact on our community, country and world.”

Majella Chube Hamilton

Project began in 2020

Initiated in the final quarter of 2020, the project included the beautification (plants and garden materials) and short-term maintenance of grave sites of victims of the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. 

The objective has been to beautify their burial spaces and provide short-term maintenance of the grave sites of Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Addie Mae Collins, all located at Greenwood Cemetery and to beautify the gravesite of Denise McNair, who is buried in her family plot in Elmwood Cemetery. 

Joining The Ballard House in the project are the following companies:

“The Ballard House Project solicited the advice and assistance of Home Depot through its Birmingham-Eastwood store in late Spring of 2023. They understood the vision and we are appreciative of additional enhancements in materials and plants they have brought to ensure the project’s success.” 

Majella Chube Hamilton

Deep connection with  Jack and Jill of America

Ballard House
4 Little Girls Jack and Jill Memorial at Greenwood Cemetery at sunset (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The beautification project honoring the memory of the four girls means a great deal for the Jack and Jill of America Foundation. Carole Robertson was a teen member of the organization’s Birmingham Chapter at the time of her death. 

Mrs. Alpha Robertson, Carole’s mother, was an active member and served as the national organization’s first Southeastern Regional Director a few years prior to the bombing. Since 1964, Jack and Jill of America chapters across the nation have observed Carole Robertson Day with programs that share the historical context and outcomes of the tragedy. 

In addition to beautifying the graves, wreaths were laid at each site last week before the 60th Commemoration. 

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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