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How to deal with racists

Arianna

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In 1970, shortly after being elected Attorney General of Alabama, 29-year-old Bill Baxley reopened the 16th Street Church bombing case -— a racially motivated act of terrorism that resulted in the deaths of four African-American girls in 1963 and a fruitless investigation, and which marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Baxley’s unwavering commitment to the case attracted much hostility, particularly from local Klansmen, and in 1976 he received a threatening letter of protest from white supremacist Edward R. Fields -— founder of the “National States’ Rights Party” and “Grand Dragon” of the New Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan —- in which he was accused of reopening the case for tactical reasons.

 

“Now I could do what I had sworn to do,” he reportedly said after being elected attorney general in the early 1970s. “Within two months in office I had set one goal for myself: to solve that bombing case.” As a reminder of this vow, he is said to havewritten the four victims’ names on a card he carried in his wallet.

 

 

 

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