BENDING TOWARD JUSTICE The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed the Course of Civil Rights By Doug Jones
As he fell behind an accused sexual predator in returns from Alabama’s 2017 Senate election, Doug Jones admits, he allowed himself an almost “unbearable” lament familiar to thousands of frustrated Alabamians who came of age in the George Wallace era: “Oh, my poor home state.” Near midnight, it appeared that Jones’s pistol-waving opponent, the former Alabama Supreme Court justice Roy Moore, would join the century-long parade of reactionary buffoons Alabama’s white majority has sent to Congress and the governor’s mansion.
But in the final count for that Dec. 12 election, a cresting wave of modern sentiment among black voters and white women in the state’s rich Republican suburbs handed Jones a 22,000-vote victory, making Alabama the last state of the old Confederacy to join the New South. It was the biggest upset in Alabama political history, especially given Jones’s background as a successful prosecutor of Ku Klux Klansmen who perpetrated the signature civil rights crime of the 1960s, the fatal bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
“Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed the Course of Civil Rights” is a valuable addition to the historical record of Alabama’s role as the battleground state of the civil rights revolution. It provides an inside look at how Jones, a former United States attorney from Birmingham, and his role model, the former Alabama attorney general Bill Baxley, sent to prison three Birmingham Klansmen who murdered four black girls by dynamiting their church on Sept. 15, 1963. The four children, aged 11 to 14 — Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Morris Wesley — died instantly in a women’s restroom where they were preparing for Sunday school.
Jones’s account of the trials of Bobby Cherry and Tommy Blanton add important details to the agonizing story. His account of Klan infiltration of the Birmingham Police Department (a “snake pit”) is ruthlessly candid. He is both accurate and generous in telling how Eddy and the F.B.I. field agents helped him reconstruct the building of the bomb and its placement on the outer wall of the women’s restroom at the church. It should be remembered that those agents were defying instructions from bureau headquarters to give Alabama investigators a cold shoulder and lie about the true extent of the files labeled “BAPBOMB” in F.B.I. archives.
It is one of the supreme ironies of the case that Chambliss, Cherry and Blanton all talked themselves into prison. Chambliss and Cherry boasted to relatives about “blowing up” the church, and an F.B.I. bug planted in Blanton’s kitchen caught him telling his wife about “making the bomb.” The Blanton tapes were among the thousands of pieces of evidence eventually provided to Jones for the Blanton trial in 2001 and the Cherry trial in 2002, but withheld from Baxley when he indicted Chambliss in 1977.
In a joint appearance with Jones at a civil rights panel in Montgomery on Jan. 23 of this year, Baxley said flatly that he could have convicted Blanton along with “Dynamite Bob” in 1977. Baxley furiously denounced Hoover for sabotaging his investigation, but in his book, Jones does not fully come to grips with Hoover’s treachery: He concludes that Hoover “decided with some justification” that trying the case in Birmingham would be “a fruitless endeavor.”
On Feb. 17, 1980, I wrote about a series of memos to Hoover in 1965 in which the energetic F.B.I. agents in Birmingham asked permission to take the case to trial “due to the climate of public opinion favoring prosecution.” My italics about the likelihood of prosecution underscore the remarkable backlash among Birmingham whites because of the heinous nature of the crime.
As Jones notes, a force of 40 agents with “boots on the ground” in Alabama had found two female relatives of Chambliss, his sister-in-law, Mary Frances Cunningham, and niece, the Rev. Elizabeth Cobbs, willing to testify against him. On May 13, 1965, the special agent in charge in Birmingham said “the case was ripe for departmental action.” But in less than a week, Hoover pulled the plug on the case. “From an evaluation of the evidence received so far in this investigation, the chance of successful prosecution in state or federal court is very remote,” Hoover wrote. “In view of this, the bureau disapproves at this time of the conference you recommend with the U.S. attorney and the solicitor for the 10th Judicial Circuit in Birmingham.”
This was Hoover hubris at its most extreme. Without ever setting foot in Birmingham, Hoover fenced off Macon Weaver, a seasoned federal prosecutor, from receiving the evidence that dozens of F.B.I. agents on the scene believed sufficient to put Chambliss, Blanton and possibly Cherry away in one fell swoop.
Jones touches inconclusively on a mystery that has confounded every journalist, historian and prosecutor who has delved into the “whodunit” details. In 1965, Chambliss’s niece and sister-in-law told F.B.I. agents that they had watched in hiding as the four Klansmen planted the bomb. They said they had disguised themselves in wigs and followed Blanton’s 1957 Chevrolet to the church. Over time, their ticktock of the case has held up, matching all the known facts to near perfection. But Cobbs later said she was passing along hearsay provided by Chambliss’s much-abused wife, Tee. Cunningham later recanted the wig story entirely and failed a lie-detector test about her original statement to investigators.
An additional complication arose when it emerged that Cunningham and James Hancock, a deputy for the Jefferson County sheriff’s department, may have been involved romantically and therefore delayed warning the police and church members in a timely way. “Just one phone call from Hancock,” Bob Eddy told Jones. “It would never have happened.”
This mass of conflicting details will probably never be untangled, but the confusion does not undermine the core of the case as set forth in uncontested supporting evidence. When I talked to Eddy and Baxley last year, both expressed the view that the later recantations by Cobbs and Cunningham were dubious. They believe that Cunningham, Cobbs and perhaps Chambliss’s wife were at the church that night and witnessed some or all of the events involving the placing of the bomb. The scenario described to F.B.I. agents by Cobbs and Cunningham in 1965 is now generally accepted.
As Jones correctly notes, the evidentiary trail in this case is full of conflicts and contradictions, and at this late date, it is unlikely that even a painstaking book devoted solely to the investigation could answer all the questions. But one home truth shines clear and earns “Bending Toward Justice” a permanent place in the civil rights canon.
Simply stated, using piecemeal evidence that a dishonest F.B.I. director wanted to keep out of court, Bill Baxley and Doug Jones put together a convincing case that proved beyond reasonable doubt that Alabama juries convicted the right men for murder. Chambliss and Cherry died in prison, and Tommy Blanton, whose Chevy delivered the bomb to the church in the midnight hours more than 50 years ago, cannot, at the age of 80, be far behind.B:
上期开特下期必开五行规律【只】【有】【把】【一】【直】【藏】【在】【心】【里】【的】【话】【全】【部】【都】【说】【出】【来】，【夏】【以】【时】【才】【能】【真】【正】【的】【释】【怀】。 【如】【果】【不】【能】【说】【出】【口】，【如】【果】【不】【能】【再】【遇】【见】【江】【喻】，【或】【者】【遇】【见】【他】【是】【在】【一】【个】【不】【合】【适】【的】【情】【况】【下】，【夏】【以】【时】【也】【不】【会】【让】【自】【己】【把】【那】【些】【话】【放】【在】【心】【里】【太】【久】，【因】【为】【她】【必】【须】【要】【放】【下】。 【只】【有】【放】【过】【了】【自】【己】，【她】【才】【能】【全】【心】【全】【意】【的】【再】【去】【喜】【欢】【一】【个】【人】。 【那】【时】【的】【她】，【不】【会】【再】【想】【着】【以】【前】【对】【不】
【四】【小】【时】【后】 “【已】【经】【有】【一】【小】【半】【人】【测】【试】【过】【了】，【还】【是】【一】【个】【能】【驾】【驶】【高】【达】【的】【都】【没】【有】。” 【黛】【尔】【放】【下】【手】【机】，【这】【样】【对】【王】【洛】【说】【道】。 【切】【汉】【弗】【拉】【还】【说】，【场】【景】【趋】【向】【于】【出】【现】【别】【的】【能】【驾】【驶】【高】【达】【的】【人】，【来】【取】【代】【那】【三】【个】【驾】【驶】【员】【呢】。 【王】【洛】【这】【样】【想】【着】，【看】【向】【黛】【尔】。“【武】【器】【和】【队】【伍】【准】【备】【的】【怎】【么】【样】【了】？” 【黛】【尔】：“【他】【们】【正】【在】【准】【备】。” 【王】
【众】【人】【大】【眼】【瞪】【小】【眼】【的】【默】【默】【对】【视】【了】【好】【一】【会】【也】【没】【人】【知】【道】【苏】【暖】【到】【底】【去】【了】【哪】【里】。 【最】【后】【还】【是】【轩】【辕】【剑】【派】【出】【面】【协】【调】【众】【人】【才】【慢】【慢】【散】【去】，【毕】【竟】【整】【个】【古】【荒】【州】【也】【算】【是】【重】【生】【了】【一】【会】，【还】【有】【许】【多】【事】【情】【需】【要】【他】【们】【去】【处】【理】，【如】【今】【灵】【气】【如】【此】【纯】【净】【十】【分】【利】【于】【修】【行】，【可】【谁】【知】【道】【这】【样】【的】【灵】【气】【能】【维】【持】【多】【久】【呢】？【现】【在】【古】【荒】【州】【可】【是】【能】【重】【新】【飞】【升】【了】，【记】【起】【这】【一】【点】【的】【修】【者】【和】【妖】上期开特下期必开五行规律【如】【果】【不】【是】【巴】【川】【对】【着】【小】【马】【的】【脑】【袋】【给】【了】【一】【个】【爆】【炒】【栗】【子】，【小】【马】【还】【愣】【愣】【的】【不】【知】【所】【措】，【银】【子】【也】【是】【巴】【川】【塞】【给】【老】【马】【的】，【虽】【然】【老】【马】【不】【知】【道】【发】【生】【了】【什】【么】，【小】【马】【也】【不】【会】【说】【话】，【但】【这】【父】【子】【俩】【好】【像】【有】【什】【么】【特】【殊】【的】【沟】【通】【方】【式】，【老】【马】【竟】【然】【也】【大】【概】【明】【白】，【只】【是】【搂】【着】【小】【马】【摸】【了】【摸】【他】【的】【头】，【像】【是】【在】【抚】【摸】【一】【只】【迷】【路】【还】【饿】【了】【好】【几】【天】【的】【小】【狗】。 【小】【马】【不】【是】【小】【狗】，【但】【小】
【一】【直】【躲】【避】，【拉】【克】【萨】【斯】【的】【怒】【气】【已】【经】【积】【蓄】【得】【满】【满】【的】【了】。【他】【本】【身】【就】【不】【是】【什】【么】【好】【脾】【气】【的】【人】，【直】【接】【在】【空】【中】【开】【大】：“【雷】【击】【之】【枪】！” 【强】【大】【的】【电】【流】【转】【化】【成】【光】【之】【枪】，【直】【接】【刺】【破】【了】【蛇】【油】【弹】，【出】【现】【在】【了】【佐】【助】【和】【王】【蛇】【的】【面】【前】！ 【王】【蛇】【下】【意】【识】【地】【翻】【滚】【了】【下】，【佐】【助】【双】【脚】【死】【死】【地】【钉】【在】【了】【王】【蛇】【的】【脑】【门】【上】。 “【砰】！” 【上】【一】【场】【比】【赛】【中】【留】【下】【来】【的】【大】【坑】
【血】【魔】【卫】【笑】【着】，【磅】【礴】【的】【风】【元】【涌】【出】【凝】【结】【成】【墙】，【将】【冲】【过】【来】【的】【黄】【灵】【死】【死】【地】【顶】【住】。 【黄】【灵】【的】【右】【拳】【深】【深】【地】【陷】【入】【风】【里】，【竟】【然】【被】【无】【色】【无】【形】【的】【风】【捆】【缚】【住】! 【血】【魔】【卫】【缓】【缓】【走】【向】【黄】【灵】，【小】【腹】【处】【热】【涨】【不】【已】，【看】【着】【黄】【灵】【那】【愤】【怒】【的】【小】【脸】【蛋】，【他】【已】【经】**【难】【耐】【了】! “【啊】!”【黄】【灵】【怒】【喊】【着】，【卡】【在】【风】【墙】【中】【的】【右】【拳】【震】【颤】【了】【起】【来】! 【木】【元】【的】【馨】【香】【弥】【漫】【空】【中】