Carol Denise McNair. Carole Robertson. Addie Mae Collins. Cynthia Wesley.
Four black girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., on Sept. 15, 1963 at the hands of four Ku Klux Klan members will never be forgotten.
Almost 40 years later Doug Jones, as U.S. attorney in Alabama, brought charges against two of the Klansmen. On Dec. 12, 2017, 54 years after the death of the young girls, Jones, a Democrat, was elected senator of the state. And it was African-Americans who led him to victory.
According to The Washington Post, 96 percent of African-Americans voted for Jones, making up 28 percent of the voters, greater than their 26 percent share of the population.
As my grandmother born and raised in the Deep South would always say, “What goes around comes around.”
Jones fighting for justice for the young girls resulted many years later in blacks fighting for him and our country — black women in particular. Exit polls found that black women, the backbone of the Democratic Party, who make up 18 percent of the electorate, voted for Jones by a margin of 97 to three.
“The grassroots organizing in black communities by groups like local NAACP chapters was more muscular than it had even been in the 2016 general election,” according to The Atlantic.
Blacks in Alabama knew that their state was at a crossroads and took justice into their own hands. In a state known for voter suppression and barriers, black people would not let the deaths of the young girls and countless others who lost their lives to domestic terrorism by white supremacists go in vain.
Blacks in Alabama would not let Republican candidate Roy Moore usher in a retro agenda of bigotry — not on their watch. They would not let Moore, who said in September, “I think [America] was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery,” take hold of their state.
Jones quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his acceptance speech Tuesday night.
“I will tell you, tonight is a night for rejoicing because as Dr. King said, as Dr. King liked to quote, ‘The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.’
“Tonight, tonight, ladies and gentlemen, tonight, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend that moral arc a little closer to that justice and you did it, not only was it bent more, not only was its aim truer but you sent it right through the heart of the great state of Alabama in doing so.”
On Dec. 12, 2017, Blacks in Alabama answered, “Yes” to the question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
They uplifted the memory of Carol Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins and Cynthia Wesley, and saved the country from Roy Moore.