A Guide to the Sarah Collins-Rudolph Oral History, 2014
On Sunday, September 15, 1963, a bomb planted by the Ku Klux Klan ripped through the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The bombers had planted 19 sticks of dynamite outside the basement, which exploded shortly after Sunday school, at 10:22am. Four young girls were killed in the blast: Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Denise McNair and Addie Mae Collins. In addition, 22 were injured, including 12-year-old Sarah Collins-Rudolph, the sister of Addie Mae Collins. Sarah Collins-Rudolph lost her right eye in the blast and spent two months in the hospital recovering from her injuries, missing her sister’s funeral.
The 16th Street Baptist Church had served as the headquarters of civil rights efforts for African Americans, who faced systemic racism and violence in Birmingham. The cruelty of the attack captured the nation’s attention and served as a turning point in the ongoing civil rights movement. National outrage over the bombing is credited with helping to spur the passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Collins-Rudolph (Sarah) Oral History, 2014, contains DVD recordings of interviews conducted with Collins-Rudolph on the subject of her early life, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963, and the aftermath of the bombing for herself and her family. The collection includes a typed transcript of the interview, as well as clippings and other research materials.
This collection is open for research use.
Sarah Collins-Rudolph Oral History, 2014, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Esther Kirchner, November 2015.
Detailed Description of the Papers