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Congress honors girls who died in 1963 church bombing

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WASHINGTON — Congress on Tuesday presented the nation’s highest civilian award to a representative of four girls who were killed during one of the pivotal moments of the civil rights movement, the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley died in the explosion of a bomb that members of the Ku Klux Klan had planted in the church fewer than 20 days after the March on Washington and as public schools in the region worked toward integration. McNair was 11 years old, the others 14.

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