Sister of Child Killed in Church Bombing to Speak at MLK Day Event

January 15, 2020

The sister of one of four young girls killed in the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, is one of the guest speakers at Anderson University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration beginning Monday, January 20. 

Anderson University Martin Luther King Jr Day Lisa McNairLisa McNair, a businesswoman and consultant based in Birmingham, is the sister of Denise McNair, one of four children killed when a bomb planted by white supremacists exploded at the 16thStreet Baptist Church on Sept. 15, 1963, as parishioners were preparing for Sunday morning services. Denise McNair was just 11-years old when she was killed along with Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley, who were each 14-years old. More than 20 other church members were injured by the blast which, along with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” helped galvanize the nation in support of the civil rights movement. 

On Monday, January 20, following a 10 a.m. worship service, McNair will join Dr. James Noble, Anderson University’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, for a conversation and presentation at Henderson Auditorium. A keynote address will follow, presented by Rev. Keith Norman, lead pastor at The Factory in Woodstock, Georgia. 

“Each year we have the opportunity to celebrate the life of Dr. King,” Dr. Noble said. “The worship service will include Anderson University’s gospel choir and the Unity Mass Choir of Mountain Spring Baptist Church of Anderson. The entire campus and the general public will enjoy inspirational singing and motivating messages that will capture the essence of Dr. King’s legacy.”

Anderson University’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration includes student-led service projects throughout the Anderson community beginning Friday, January 17 throughout Martin Luther King Jr. Day. McNair also will speak to AU students on Tuesday, January 21.

“One of the highlights on MLK Day is see how our student body shows their appreciation for Dr. King through community service projects,” Dr. Noble said. “On Jan. 15, 2020, Dr. King would have been 91 years old. If he were alive today, I believe he would be proud to witness the love and concern shown to the poor, marginalized and underprivileged. His dream lives on at Anderson University.”