Hilton Hotel ponders to make amends to blacks and put picture of Four Little Girls at The Tutwiler in downtown Alabama. Ahmar Mustikhan

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The writer paying homage to the four little girls at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmibgham 9/15/2023; he was there earlier on 8/04/2023.

Alabama, USA: For decades the Hilton property in the “Johannesburg of America” — Birminghan — was rubbing salt to the wounds of black folks by displaying a huge picture of the Confederate veterans, who founded terrorist KKK. The hotel finally removed the picture after a protest by this writer.

The Hilton Hotel indicated it’s willingness  to turn a page on its blatant support to racism

at a downtown hotel in Birminghan, the main official of the hotel said.

Kay French, general Manager of Hilton’s The Tutwiler, assured that the Hilton Hotel will take into consideration the request to put the picture of the Four Little Girls at the same spot where it had for years displayed the picture of the KKK terrorists and allied Confederate veterans, mostly two in one.

The KKK had bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963 at 10.22 am that left Addie Mae Collins (14), Cynthia Wesley (14), Carole Robertson (14), and Denise McNair (11) dead.

Addi Mae Collins 12-year-old sister, initially blinded and nearly lifeless, Sarah Collins was found in the rubble.

At least 22 others were injured inside the the church. 

Hilton’s The Tutwiler is only four blocks away from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church where Ketanji Brown Jackson, associate judge of the Supreme Court delivered her keynote address on the 60th anniversary of the KKK bombing of the church.

In an email, French copied the assurance to Mark Weinstein, chief marketing officer of the $40.84 billion Hilton Worldwide. Hilton sells rooms to 200 million guests every year in 6,900 hotels, across 18 brands, in 122 countries and territories

Though the matter is of national and international significance that Hilton Hotel glamorized the Confederate veterans (KKK) villains, Weinstein responded after passage of nine days.

Hilton Hotel finally removed the picture of the villains of history on Monday September 18, exactly 60 years to the day Dr Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his eulogy for the victims, just four blocks away at the 16th Street Baptist Church.

This year Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office joined hands with Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the Historic Bethel Church Restoration Fund, Birmingham Civil Rights institute, the Ballard House Project and other civic and pro-people organizations to have a befitting 60 year commemoration of the church bombing.

On September 14, a community gathering was held at the 16th Street Baptist Church where national thought leader Dr Eddie Glaude Jr. enumerated the challenges faced by the black folks.

Research by this writer shows even today to a white person’s one dollar the black person has just 10 cents.— that is an economic disparity of 10 to one.

According to Margaret A. Burnham, author of By Hands Now Known as many as 50 homes and churches were bombed between 1947 to 1965 in “Bad Birmingham.”

This writer’s protest had forced Hilton Hotel to take down the picture of the villains of history. He also asked “Hilton Hotel to show respect to the Four Little Girls, who lost their lives just four blocks away to KKK terror, and put their pictures at the same place where the White Supremacist picture had been hanging for decades.”

Meanwhile, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute has said it was willing to give a closer look to the racist picture from May 1916 to see if it can be used for education on civil rights at the institute.

Samantha Elliott Briggs, PhD., Vice President of the BCRI, has informed the Hilton Hotel’s The Tutwiler that the BCRI’s historical content expert Barry McNealy and the head of archives at BCRI’s art collection Wayne Coleman would share their perspective on the villainous picture and whether BCRI is in a position to acquire it if Hilton Hotel’s The Tutwiler would decide to part with it.

BCRI’s Wayne Coleman has asked French if she could arrange a viewing of the huge picture, that was long mounted on shining glass until September 18– sixty years to the day Dr Martin Luther King Jr. deliver an eulogy for the martyred little black girls. 

The KKK was officially revived in Birmingham in 1915. Michael Newton, in his book Ku Klux Terror Birmingham, Alabama, from 1866-Present, notes, “In 1915, it (KKK) reappeared as a fraternal order and political vehicle. What started as a small group of drunk Confederate veterans on horsebacks harassing freed slaves had became a vast network of violent, power hungry racists.”

According to Bhamwiki, 1916 Reunion of the United Confederate Veterans was a city-wide event. Thousands of veterans came to the city from Tuesday May 16 to Thursday May 18, 1916 and waved Confederate flags. Also a large group of KKK paraded in full costume on horseback, a harbinger of the imminent re-emergence of the secret organization, that was revived a year earlier. 

One of the faces in the picture that has been taken down was that of the terrorist General Bennett Young. According to the Business Insider, in 1864 as a 21-year-old, Young was head of a 21-member gang of Confederate thugs who launched a surprise attack on St. Albans, Vermont, robbing and burning the small town in an attempt to strike terror into defenseless civilians throughout the north. Young was said to be mad with the union army as he alleged they raped the woman he wanted to marry in his Kentucky town. 

The writer has identified at least six faces in the picture, five of them well known KKK members.

Quite a few U.S. celebrities carry the name Hilton— Paris, Baron and Kathy— as the Hilton hospitality empire was built by their grandfather Conrad Hilton.

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