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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, May 09, 2013 6:26 pm

Senate OKs honor for Birmingham bombing victims

By HENRY C. JACKSONAssociated Press

Four victims of a deadly Alabama church bombing at the height of the civil rights movement are now just a presidential signature away from receiving Congress' highest civilian honor.

The Senate on Thursday approved by voice vote a measure that would posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair.

The four girls were killed when a bomb planted by white supremacists exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963.

Senate approval comes after a unanimous, 420-0 vote in the House.

Led by members of the Alabama delegation, Congress has shown broad support for awarding the medal. But relatives of the four victims have been split, with some supportive and others seeking financial compensation.