The Museum Of UnCut Funk continues to honor Black Icons by adding commemorative bronze medals featuring their images to our coin collection. We celebrate and honor Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, the 4 Little Girls killed by a racist bombing attack on their Birmingham Church.

A Congressional Gold Medal was awarded posthumously to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley. These four young black girls lost their lives in the bombing of their 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on September 15, 1963. The bombing and death of the four girls served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement and contributed to support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The medal specifically commemorates the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing victims for the “movement for civil and human rights their deaths became and their ultimate sacrifice which was emblematic of many others who lost their lives for the causes of freedom and equality.” The timing of the medal presentation marks 50th anniversary of the bombing.

The Congressional Gold Medal was authorized under Public Law 113-11, which provided only broad guidance on the design for the medal. The medal was to be “of appropriate design to commemorate the lives of Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley” and contain “suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions.” The final designs were selected by the Treasury of the Secretary in consultation with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.

16th Street Baptist Church Bronze Medal Front

The obverse design features a silhouette of the four girls, with inscriptions of their names around the outer border of the design. Additional inscriptions “Pivotal in the Struggle for Equality” and “September 13 1963″ appears across the silhouettes. The obverse was designed by Barbara Fox an engraved by Jim Licaretz.

16th Street Baptist Church Bronze Medal Back

The reverse depicts a view of the 16th Street Baptist Church. The inscriptions include “Act of Congress 2013″ above, “Killed in the Bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church” to the left, and “Birmingham, Alabama” beneath. The reverse was designed by Donna Weaver and engraved by Joseph Menna.

You can learn more about commemorative currency in our Coins, Medals and Medallions collection and our For The Love Of Money: Blacks On US Currency Exhibition.

Source: US Mint

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