Washington • Four girls killed in an Alabama church bombing during the civil rights movement are receiving the highest honor Congress gives to civilians.
President Barack Obama signed legislation Friday to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair.
The three 14-year-olds and an 11-year-old were killed Sept. 15, 1963, when a bomb planted by white supremacists exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.
September will mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing, which helped spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Three Ku Klux Klan members were convicted of the bombing years after the attack. Two are dead and one is in prison.