Segments in this Video

4 Little Girls (03:58)


On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed, killing Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley.

Denise McNair (02:50)

Maxine and Chris McNair, parents of Denise, describe their relationship, marriage, and children. Denise's relatives explain the type of child she was.

The Magic City (03:01)

Birmingham was a blue collar, steel town. It had a long history of labor violence and rural racism.

A Whole World of Betrayal (02:01)

Chris reflects on the time when he had to explain to Denise the rules of segregation. Maxine believes that this reality was harder on young girls and women.

Carole Robertson (02:40)

Family members explain the type of child Carole was. Alpha Roberston, Carole's mother, describes her daughter as an avid reader and talented musician.

Headquarters for the Movement (03:25)

In 1962, Bethel Baptist Church was the headquarters for change in Birmingham. Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker was asleep in bed, when the first bombing took place. Bombings were a common occurrence during this time.

Cynthia Wesley (03:25)

Friends and family members describe the type of child Cynthia was. Shirley Wesley King, Cynthia's sister, reflects on the last words her mother spoke to Cynthia.

Civil Rights Movement (02:08)

In 1961, the freedom riders came to Birmingham, Alabama. The bus was burned and the riders were beaten. Albert Boutwell, ready to collaborate with black leaders, was elected mayor in 1963.

Bringing in a Spotlight (02:58)

Fred Shuttlesworth, a minister in Birmingham, sought out help from Martin Luther King Jr. In 1957, a film surfaced of Fred being attacked in the street in front of a white school, where he attempted to integrate his children.

Addie Mae Collins (01:12)

Friends and family members describe the type of child Addie was. Denise's childhood friend reflects on a time when Denise demanded a dead bird receive a proper funeral.

Dark Spirit of Birmingham (05:43)

Rev. Walker speaks with Dr. King on how to provoke Eugene "Bull" Connor, former Commissioner of Public Safety, with a marching crowd. Bull would terrorize black neighborhoods in his white tank.

Mental Illness (02:50)

Black people share their opinions of former governor of Alabama, George Wallace. In 1963, he stood in the doorway physically blocking black students from attending the University of Alabama.

Seeking Redemption (02:21)

Wallace notes that his best friend is black and he will not travel without him. He claims he supplied black children with free textbooks when he was in office.

Church of the Movement (04:13)

The 16th Street Baptist Church was the civil rights headquarters in Birmingham. People would crowd together, led by Dr. King and others, to march for freedom.

Children Marching (04:02)

Rev. James Bevel traveled to Birmingham to organize the young activists. Teachers at Parker High School forbid students to participate, but students did so anyway.

Black Revolution (03:49)

Police attacks at Kelly Ingram Park were a turning point for the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement.

Gaining America's Attention (02:18)

Ossie Davis speaks about Birmingham in 1963, and the triumphs of the black movement. Chris and Maxine reflect on the last meal they had as a family with Denise.

Premonition of Blood Shed (01:51)

Two weeks before the church was bombed, Queen Nunn had a premonition that something terrible was going to happen at the 16th Street Baptist Church. She pleaded with her children not to go near the church.

Sunday Morning (04:31)

Community members reflect on events leading up to the church bombing, and the last moments they saw the four little girls.

Death and Destruction (06:14)

Community members recall where they were and what is was like to hear the bomb go off. People dug in rubble and ashes trying to find loved ones. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley were killed in the blast.

Plans of Retaliation (03:06)

Julie Collins, Addie Mae's sister, was deeply disturbed after identifying her sister's body. Rev. Bevel felt personally assaulted by the church bombing, and the right to vote movement was born.

Funeral Services (05:48)

Dr. King visited the mourning families and talks of a mass funeral hit an obstacle. Morticians had a difficult time preparing Denise's mangled body.

Three Coffins (02:45)

Dr. King addresses the community during the funeral service. Denise's mother passed out at the cemetery. Coretta Scott King reads a letter Dr. King wrote to Denise's parents, giving his condolences.

Painful Memories (03:00)

Maxine shows some of Denise's possessions that she has kept along the years, including the brick that killed Denise. Janine Gaines reflects on a time she rushed home to play with Addie, only to remember her sister had died.

An Awakening in White America (02:39)

Walter Cronkite doubts the white community understood the depths of the hate of the Ku Klux Klan, prior to the church bombing. Political leaders discuss the social significance of the bombing.

Conspiracy of the Mind (03:44)

Since 1994, over 22 churches have been burned in Alabama. On September 24, 1977, two men were indicted for the 16th Street Birmingham Church bombing, Bob Chambliss and Thomas Blanton Jr.

Bob Chambliss's Trial (04:16)

According to FBI records, the following men were suspects in the church bombing— Bob Chambliss, Thomas Blanton Jr., Bobby Frank Cherry, and Herman Cash. Chris testified and showed the jury his pain in losing Denise. Chambliss's niece, Elizabeth Cobbs, testified against him.

Guilty Verdict (02:13)

Prosecuting attorney, Bill Baxley, closed his argument by reminding the jury that Denise McNair was killed on her birthday. Bob Chambliss was found guilty.

Conquering Anger and Hate (04:40)

Chris presents his favorite photograph of Denise. Alpha Robertson, Carole's mother, works hard not to feel hatred.

Credits: 4 Little Girls (02:48)

Credits: 4 Little Girls

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4 Little Girls

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $199.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $299.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



In his documentary (and HBO) debut, renowned director/producer Spike Lee takes an in-depth look at one of America's most heinous crimes, a racially motivated bombing that may have been caused by -- and most definitely helped define -- the emerging civil-rights movement championed by Dr. Martin Luther King and others. 4 Little Girls is at once a moving human account by family members and friends of the four girls who perished in the September 15, 1963 bombing, as well as an important historical account of the forces that shaped race relations in Birmingham (called by King "the most thoroughly segregated city in the U.S.") and the nation in the 1960s. An HBO Production. 

Length: 103 minutes

Item#: FMK114977

Copyright date: ©1997

Closed Captioned

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