They've always been "the four little girls" even though three of them were fourteen which, as parents know, is not so little. We first came to know of them on September 15th, 1963--yes, the fiftieth anniversary is approaching--when Ku Klux Klansmen set dynamite which exploded in their church--the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and killed them all--Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley. All dead, "little girls" forever, then and now. Twenty-two others were injured. But it is the dead girls we remember.
President Obama honored them this week, signing a bill awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal. They won't know it, of course, and they won't know about something more important that they did; they helped change America, helped us struggle against racism and the hate it breeds.
You never got to vote, never got to sit where you wanted on the bus. But you helped make us a country where other African-Americans can do those things.
Dead? Little girls, your memory lives.