House to honor victims of 1963 bombing that led to civil rights movement

The bill, H.R. 360, from Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), would posthumously award all four with a Congressional Gold Medal. The bipartisan legislation has 296 co-sponsors, and it was introduced with the six other members of the Alabama delegation as original co-sponsors.

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"It is significant how deep the bipartisan support is for awarding this high honor to four lovely and innocent young girls whose legacy led to permanent change for the better in Alabama and our society," Sewell said in March. "From our vantage point 50 years later, we see clearly how an act of evil done at a House of God in downtown Birmingham stirred the consciences of decent people everywhere and resulted in landmark civil rights achievements."

Soon after the bombing, Martin Luther King delivered the eulogy for the children. According to Sewell's office, the bombing "became a galvanizing force for the passage of historic civil rights legislation, including the Voting Rights Act of 1964."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced on Thursday that the bill would be considered under a suspension of House rules. That will require a two-thirds majority vote, a hurdle the bill will clear easily.

Passage is expected as early as Tuesday.