Chris McNair, Father of 11-Year-Old Girl Killed in 1963 Birmingham Bombing and One of the First Black Lawmakers in Alabama, Dies at 93

Chris McNair (center, with his wife, Maxine McNair), the father of 11-year-old Denise McNair, who was one of four young girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, died on Wednesday. He was 93 years old

Chris McNair, the father of one of four young girls killed in the 1963 bombing of an Alabama church, died on Wednesday. He was 93.

His family confirmed his death in a statement.

‘We are grateful for the life and legacy of our father,’ said J. Christopher McNair. ‘He was a man who loved his family and this community. We ask for prayers and privacy as we prepare to lay him to rest,’ his family said in a statement.

McNair’s daughter Denise, 11, was one of four girls killed when a powerful bomb went off outside Birmingham‘s 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963, amid white opposition to the desegregation of public schools.

The bomb, which was placed by Ku Klux Klan members, ripped through the church and also killed Addie Mae Collins, 14, Carole Robertson, 14, and 14-year-old Cynthia Wesley.

Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr was the second of three people convicted in the bombing. Blanton is the only church bomber still living behind bars.

Robert Chambliss was convicted in 1977, and Bobby Frank Cherry, convicted in 2002, They both died in prison.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said in a statement: ‘Mr. McNair and his family are forever tied to our country’s civil-rights legacy.’

‘When he tragically lost his daughter Denise in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963, his courage and fortitude fueled our march for peace,’ Woodfin said.

‘May we take comfort in knowing that Chris has reunited with his beloved Denise,’ Woodfin added.