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Gold medal honors bombing victims


medal170Bronze duplicates of a Congressional Gold Medal went on sale Sept. 11.

The medal was awarded posthumously the day before in the U.S. Capitol Building to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, four young black girls who lost their lives in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., Sept. 15, 1963.

Their murder as these young girls prepared for Sunday school galvanized the civil rights movement and sparked a surge of momentum that helped secure the enactment of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Now 50 years later, the 16th Street Baptist Church remains a powerful symbol of the movement for civil and human rights.

The design shows the silhouette of four young girls. The victims’ names are inscribed around the border with the quote PIVOTAL IN THE STRUGGLE FOR EQUALITY. Additional inscriptions include SEPTEMBER 15 and 1963, which are incused across the silhouettes.

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It was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Barbara Fox and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz.

On the reverse is a view of the 16th Street Baptist Church with the quote KILLED IN THE BOMBING OF THE 16TH ST. BAPTIST CHURCH to the left of the image. Additional inscriptions are ACT OF CONGRESS 2013 and BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA.

Designer of the reverse was AIP Master Designer Donna Weaver and it was sculpted by Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.

A three-inch medal may be purchased for $39.95 each and the 1.5-inch version is $6.95.

Visit the Mint’s website at www.usmint.gov to order. Orders are also being taken by telephone. Call (800) USA-MINT.

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