TYPE: Artifact
DIMENSIONS: 6.25" x 2.25"
CONDITION: Chipping to the green paint, with wood splinters along the rough edges. There are some spots of soiling as well as a few smudges to the pencil writing.
NOTES: Written on the front of the debris in pencil is "Bell St. a piece of debris 1/11/57", believed to be in the hand of Leonard Ballou, the husband of Dr. King's secretary, Maude Ballou.

This lot was originally part of the "Maude Ballou Civil Rights Papers" in April 2014.
REFERENCE EXTERNAL LINKS: Alabama History: Montgomery churches, ministers’ homes bombed

ITEM ID: 4718
  • Artwork
  • Artwork

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Bell Street Baptist Church Bombing Debris

Year: 1957
Decade: 1950s
Century: 20th (1901-2000)
Notes: January 11, 1957

A piece of debris from the African-American church, painted light green. Members of the Ku Klux Klan on January 10, 1957 targeted the church, along with several other buildings. The explosion took out the back wall of the church, but thankfully, no one was injured.

These attacks occurred just three weeks after the Supreme Court ruled Montgomery’s bus segregation laws to be unconstitutional. The Bell Street Baptist Church had been a meeting place for those involved in the Bus Boycott. Bombings also occurred at the Mount Olive Baptist Church, the Hutchinson Street Baptist Church, the First Baptist Church, and at the homes of Rev. Robert Graetz and Ralph Abernathy.