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TRIBUTE TO SARAH COLLINS-RUDOLPH IN RECOGNITION OF HER SACRIFICES AS A SURVIVOR OF THE 1963 BOMBING OF SIXTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
(Extensions of Remarks - February 28, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E211-E212]
TRIBUTE TO SARAH COLLINS-RUDOLPH IN RECOGNITION OF HER SACRIFICES AS A 
  SURVIVOR OF THE 1963 BOMBING OF SIXTEENTH STREET BAPTIST CHURCH IN 
                          BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. TERRI A. SEWELL

                               of alabama

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 28, 2013

  Ms. SEWELL of Alabama. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor and 
recognize Sarah Collins-Rudolph, a little known American hero whose 
life was forever changed on the morning of Sunday, September 15, 1963. 
On that tragic day, Sarah's sister Addie was one of four little girls 
killed in the noted bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 
Birmingham, Alabama. While her name isn't engraved in memorials or 
printed in history books, to many in the Birmingham community, Sarah is 
known as ``the fifth little girl.'' As we remember the 50th anniversary 
of this tragic event in our nation's history, we pay tribute to the 
four lives that were lost. But, we must also remember those that 
survived this horrible tragedy. Sarah Collins-Rudolph is one of those 
survivors. Sarah is the last of eight children born to Alice and Oscar 
Collins of Birmingham, AL. The day of the bombing, she was just 12 
years old. Sarah and Addie Mae were one year apart and formed a unique 
closeness due to their closest in age.
   On the morning of the bombing, Sarah was in the bathroom of the 
church's basement with the four victims including Addie Mae, Denise 
McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley. Sarah was the only girl in 
the bathroom

[[Page E212]]

that day to survive. She lost her right eye and her life was filled 
with corrective surgeries and extensive medical care for her injuries. 
There were 21 survivors of the bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist 
Church but no single family suffered as much as the Collins family, 
losing Addie Mae and caring for Sarah's multiple injuries.
   The physical and emotional scars of this senseless tragedy remain 
with Sarah as she continues her extraordinary life. Even today, there 
are moments when she struggles mentally with her fate of being bombed 
at just 12 years old. Despite the persistent aftermath of the events, 
she is dedicated to making sure that the nation remembers the bombing 
and its significance to the civil rights movement. Sarah shares her 
painful story in hopes that future generations will know their history 
and remember those that were symbols of the civil rights movement.
   Today, I salute Sarah Collins-Rudolph for her sacrifices to our 
country. We are often reminded of the civil rights giants that fought 
on the front lines for justice and equality. But it is an imperative 
that we never forget the sacrifices made by all those who were a part 
of this transformative time in America. On behalf of a grateful nation, 
we say thank you to Mrs. Sarah Collins-Rudolph for the personal 
sacrifice and courageous fight she has endured for civil and equal 
rights. On that Sunday morning in 1963, Sarah's life changed instantly 
and she was forever scarred by the actions of those who sought to 
stifle America's movement. But because of Sarah, we rejoice in a new 
era of our history that realizes the dreams of those before us.
   We salute Mrs. Collins-Rudolph because her story was a catalyst for 
a new America. Her sacrifices led us to the liberties and freedoms that 
many of us enjoy today. I am especially grateful for Sarah's story for 
had it not been for her painful journey, my own journey would not be 
possible. As Alabama's first Black Congresswoman, I stand before you 
today with a humble heart knowing that Sarah's journey paved the way 
for my own place in American history.
   I ask all of my colleagues in the House of Representatives to join 
me in saluting Mrs. Sarah Collins-Rudolph, an Alabama treasure and an 
American hero.

                          ____________________




    

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