Follow us: Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Google+ Follow us on Linkedin Follow us on Tumblr Subscribe to our RSS or Atom feed
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Southern Weather Radar


Our Writers

  • Adam Peck
  • Alan Gordon
  • Alex Kearns
  • Alex Seitz-Wald
  • Alice Murray
  • Allison Korn
  • Alyssa Cagle
  • Amanda Marcotte
  • Amanda Peterson Beadle
  • Andrea Grimes
  • Andrea Lee Meyer
  • Andrew Bowen
  • Andy Brack
  • Andy Kopsa
  • Andy Miller
  • Andy Schmookler
  • Ann Marie Pace
  • Ann Woolner & Leonard Ray Teel
  • Anna Dolianitis
  • Anna Forbes and Kate Ryan
  • Annelise Thim
  • Anoni Muss
  • April Adams
  • April Moore
  • Ariel Harris
  • Armando
  • Arthur Blaustein
  • Austen Risolvato
  • Austin McMurria
  • Barry Hollander
  • Bert Roughton III
  • Beth Ostlund
  • Betsey Dahlberg
  • Bill Hamm
  • Bill Mankin
  • Bill Montgomery
  • Bill Moyers & Michael Winship
  • Bill Phillips
  • Bill Semple
  • Bill Tush
  • Billy Howard
  • Bob Bohanan
  • Bob Pritchard
  • Booth Malone
  • Bootsie Lucas
  • Boyd Lewis
  • Brad Clayton
  • Braden Goyette For ProPublica
  • Brett Martin
  • Brian Randall
  • Brianna Peterson
  • Bruce Dixon
  • Bruce E. Levine
  • Burton Cox
  • Candice Dyer
  • Carl Kline
  • Carol Carter
  • Casey Hayden
  • Cathleen Hulbert
  • Center for American Progress
  • Chantille Cook
  • Charles Finn
  • Charles O. Hendrix Jr.
  • Charles Seabrook
  • Charles Walston
  • Chelsea Toledo
  • Chelsey Willis
  • Chris Bowers
  • Chris Kromm
  • Chris Wohlwend
  • Christopher Burdette
  • Chrys B. Graham
  • Chuck Collins
  • Cliff Green
  • Cody Maxwell
  • Collin Kelley
  • Craig Miller
  • Crissinda Ponder
  • Dallas Lee
  • Dan Kennedy
  • Daniel Flynn
  • Daniel K. Williams
  • Daniel Palmer
  • Danny Fulks
  • Dante Atkins
  • Darby Britto
  • Dave Cooley
  • Dave Johnson
  • Dave Pruett
  • David Bradford
  • David Evans
  • David Harris-Gershon
  • David Jenks
  • David Kyler
  • David Rotenstein
  • David Swanson
  • Dean Baker
  • Deb Barshafsky
  • Debbie Houston
  • Deborah Chasteen
  • Denise Oliver Velez
  • Dennis McCarthy
  • Desiree Evans
  • Dian Cai
  • Diana Delatour
  • Dina Rasor
  • Dindy Yokel
  • Doc
  • Don Lively
  • Don O'Briant
  • Door Guy
  • Doug Couch
  • Doug Cumming
  • Dr. Brian Moench
  • Dr. Nick De Bonis
  • E. David Ferriman
  • Earl Fisher
  • Eden Landow
  • Eileen Dight
  • Eleanor Ringel Cater
  • Elizabeth Shugg
  • Ellen Brown
  • Elliott Brack
  • Erin Kotecki Vest
  • Fatima Najiy
  • FishOutofWater
  • Francisco Silva
  • Frank Povah
  • Fred Brown
  • Frederick Palmer
  • Gadi Dechter, Michael Ettlinger
  • Gail Kiracofe
  • Gaius
  • Georgia Logothetis
  • Gib Ennis
  • Gina Williams
  • Gita M. Smith
  • Glenn Overman
  • Gordon Anderson
  • Gregory C. Dixon
  • Gryphon Corpus
  • Hamp Skelton
  • Harriet Barr
  • Heather Boushey
  • Henry Dreyer
  • Hollis B. Ball III
  • Hugh
  • Hyde Post
  • Ian Kim
  • Ian Millhiser
  • Isabel Owen
  • Ivy Brashear
  • J.A. Myerson
  • Jack deJarnette
  • Jack Wilkinson
  • Jacklyn C. Citero
  • Jake Olzen
  • James Hataway
  • James Marc Leas
  • James N. Maples
  • Janet Ward
  • Jasmine Burnett
  • Jason Palmer
  • Jason Parker
  • Jay Thompson
  • Jeff Cochran
  • Jeff Davis
  • Jeff Rayno
  • Jeff Spross
  • Jennifer Hill
  • Jesse Harwell
  • Jessica Luton
  • Jim Bentley and Jeff Nesmith
  • Jim Clark
  • Jim Cobb
  • Jim Fitzgerald
  • Jim Newell
  • Jim Stovall
  • Jim Walls
  • Jim Warren
  • Jimmy Booth
  • Jing Luo
  • Jingle Davis
  • Joan Donovan
  • Jodi Jacobson
  • Jody Wegmueller
  • Joe Earle
  • Joe Shifalo
  • Joel Groover
  • Joey Ledford
  • John A. Tures
  • John Dembowski
  • John Hickman
  • John M. Williams
  • John Manasso
  • John Sugg
  • John Tabellione
  • John Yow
  • Jon Sinton
  • Jonathan Grant
  • Joni Hunnicutt
  • Jonna Pattillo
  • Joseph B. Atkins
  • Joseph Gatins
  • Josh Dorner
  • Josh Sewell
  • Joy Moses
  • Judith Stough
  • Judy McCarthy
  • Juli Ward
  • Julian Bond
  • Julianne Wyrick
  • Julie Ajinkya
  • Julie Puckett Fodera
  • Just Plain Will
  • Kaili Joy Gray
  • Kate Greer
  • Kate McNally
  • Kathleen Brewin Lewis
  • Kathleen Harbin
  • Kathleen R. Gegan
  • Kathryn Hoffman
  • KC Wildmoon
  • Keith Graham
  • Ken Edelstein
  • Ken Haldin
  • Kevin Austin
  • Kevin Duffy
  • Kip Burke
  • Kirk McAlpin
  • Kirsten Barr
  • Kos Moulitsas
  • Kristie Macrakis
  • Lacey Avery
  • Lamont Cranston
  • Laura Clawson
  • Laura Smith
  • Laurence Lewis
  • Lawrence S. Wittner
  • Lee Leslie
  • Lee Robin
  • Les Eatwell
  • LikeTheDew
  • Linda Hunt Beckman
  • Linda Jordan Tucker
  • Lisa Byerley Gary
  • Lisa Kerr
  • Lois Beckett, Propublica
  • Lorraine Berry
  • Louie Clay
  • Louis Mayeux
  • Lovell Jones, Ph.D.
  • Lucy Emerson Sullivan
  • Lucy Guest
  • Maggie Lee
  • Maisha White
  • Mandy Richburg Rivers
  • Margi Ness
  • Marian Wang, ProPublica
  • Marie Diamond
  • Mark Dohle
  • Mark Johnson
  • Mark Sumner
  • Martha W. Fagan
  • Mary Civille
  • Mary Elizabeth King
  • Mary Kay Andrews
  • Mary Lee
  • Mary Willis Cantrell
  • Matt Johnson
  • Matt Musick
  • Matt Renner
  • Matthew Wright
  • Maurice Carter
  • Meg Livergood Gerrish
  • Meghan Miller
  • Melanie Rochat
  • Melinda Ennis
  • Michael Beckel
  • Michael Castengera
  • Michael Ettlinger
  • Michael J. Solender
  • Michael Linden
  • Michael Lux
  • Michael W. Twitty
  • Mike Copeland
  • Mike Cox
  • Mike Handley
  • Mike Lofgren
  • Mike Ludwig
  • Mike Williams
  • Mike ”Hunter” Lazzaro
  • Mimi Skelton
  • Moni Basu
  • Monica Smith
  • Murray Browne
  • Myra Blackmon
  • Nancy Melton
  • Nancy Puckett
  • Nancy Robinson
  • Nancy Rogers
  • Neill Herring
  • Nelly McDaid
  • Nikki Gardner
  • Niles Reddick
  • Noel Holston
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Overman & Senn
  • Pamela Sumners
  • Pat Garofalo
  • Pat LaMarche
  • Patrick L. Ledford
  • Patsy Dickey
  • Patti Ghezzi
  • Paul Krupin
  • Paul Rutledge
  • Paul Thim
  • Pete & Jack
  • Peter Crawford
  • Peter Turnbull
  • Phil Gast
  • Phil Noble
  • Philip Graitcer
  • Phyllis Alesia Perry
  • Phyllis Gilbert
  • Piney Woods Pete
  • R. P. Singletary
  • R.L. Miller
  • Rafael Alvarez
  • Randy Conway
  • Randy Schiltz
  • Ray Bearfield
  • Raymond L. Atkins
  • Reagan Walker
  • Rebecca Sive
  • Richard Eisel
  • Righton C. Willis
  • Rob Chambers
  • Rob Coppock
  • Rob Douthit
  • Robert Dardenne
  • Robert Jensen
  • Robert Lamb
  • Robert M. Williams, Jr.
  • Robert Mashburn
  • Robert Weiner & Richard Mann
  • Robin Marty
  • Rodney Adams
  • Roger Gregory
  • Ron Feinberg
  • Ron Taylor
  • Rose Aguilar
  • Rose Weaver
  • Rosemary Griggs
  • Russ Wellen
  • Sam Morton
  • Sao Magnifico
  • Sara Amis
  • Sarah Ayres
  • Sarah Bufkin
  • Saralyn Chesnut
  • Scott Anna
  • Scott Borchert
  • Scott Keyes
  • Scott Wooledge
  • Seth Cline
  • Shane Gilreath
  • Sharon M. Riley
  • Shay Dawkins
  • Sheffield Hale
  • Sheila Barnard Nungesser
  • Sigrid Sanders
  • SoniaTai
  • Sonya Collins
  • Soraya Chemaly
  • Spencer Lawton
  • Stephanie Taylor
  • Stephen Lacey
  • Steve King
  • Steve Krodman
  • Steve Valk
  • Stuart Liss
  • Sue Sturgis
  • Sujigu
  • Susan De Bonis
  • Susan Soper
  • Susan Wilson
  • Suz Korbel
  • Tammy Andrews
  • Tammy Ingram
  • Tanya Somanader
  • Ted Kooser
  • Terri Evans
  • The Barnacle Goose
  • Thomas A. Bledsoe
  • Tiger Liliuokalani
  • Tim Oliver
  • Timothy Freeman
  • Timothy Hurst
  • Tom Baxter
  • Tom Crawford
  • Tom Ferguson
  • Tom Millsop
  • Tom Poland
  • Tom Walker
  • Travis Waldron
  • Travis Waldron & Pat Garofalo
  • Trevor Stone Irvin
  • Tricia Collins
  • Troubadour
  • Valerie Evans
  • Viveca Novak
  • Waldron, Somanader & Garofalo
  • Walter Rhett
  • Wanda Argersinger
  • Wayne Countryman
  • Wayne Johnson
  • We The People
  • Will Cantrell
  • Will Nelson
  • William Cotter
  • William Hedgepeth
  • Yana Kunichoff
  • Yasmin Vafa
  • Zack Beauchamp
  • Zack Ford
  • Zaid Jilani
  • Zaina Budayr



  • Login or Subscribe

    Like the Dew?

    We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.

    Southern Anguish

    “Bombingham”

    by | Sep 15, 2011

    On a late summer Sunday morning 48 years ago  on Sept. 15, 1963 at the peak of the civil rights movement, a homemade dynamite bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham before worship services, snuffing out the lives of four young Sunday school girls.

    In retrospect, the atrocity, which stunned the nation, created a turning point as increasing numbers of Southerners reacted with disgust over violent resistance to racial desegregation.

    Not that the realization came easy for some. Even in (“Yankeefied”) south Florida, where I was a young reporter for a Sarasota newspaper, there were soft-spoken doubts by some whites, “just between us folks. Maybe ‘they’ blew up the  church to make us feel sorry for them, and it went off at the wrong time.”

    “Communists” were another oft-mentioned culprit. “They want to destroy this country, you know. Get us fighting each other.”

    Fourteen years later, after exhaustive investigation by Alabama Attorney General Bill Baxley and the FBI, a Birmingham  jury convicted the malevolent mastermind of the bombing — Robert Chambliss, a mechanic and longtime Ku Klux Klan member known by fellow Klansmen as “Dynamite Bob.”

    Chambliss was also suspect in numerous other civil rights era bombings in the Alabama steel city, hence his nickname, and the city’s, which blacks often called “Bombingham.” In fact, Chambliss had been heard to boast:  “I have enough stuff to flatten half of Birmingham.”

    Sixteenth Street Baptist was a prime target, for its role as a field headquarters for the famous demonstrations against segregation that spring.

    When Chambliss finally went to trial in 1977,  I covered for the afternoon Atlanta Journal, at that time a separate paper from the morning Constitution. For more than a week, I watched an angry-looking “Dynamite Bob” as witnesses mustered by Baxley — who had vowed to solve his state’s civil rights era crimes — laid out the case against him.

    Key among the  witnesses was Chambliss’  niece Elizabeth Cobbs, a Methodist minister who as a young woman, frequently visited  the pugnacious, ill-tempered Klansman and his wife, a warm, good-humored woman her niece called “Aunt Tee.”

    In an interview in the mid-’90s, Cobbs told me Chambliss sometimes beat his wife, and she endured because “she loved him, in her way…and she knew if she left him, he wouldn’t let her get away with it.”

    Aunt Tee had a private way of coping, I learned: when Chambliss was out of the house, his wife would dress their German shepherd in her husband’s clothes and dance with the dog to the radio while murmuring insults in a low, sweet voice.

    At his trial, Chambliss glared at the prosecution’s star witness as he scrawled her name repeatedly on a yellow legal pad during Cobbs testimony.

    The morning before  the bombing, Cobbs testified, she heard Chambliss fuming at his breakfast table over a news report about the stabbing of a white teenage girl by a black youth.

    “Just wait till Sunday, he said. “They’ll beg us to let them segregate!”

    A few days later, Cobbs testified about hearing Chambliss blurt out during a TV newscast about the fatal bombing: “It wasn’t meant to hurt anybody. It didn’t go off when it was supposed to.”

    “I believe Robert (and some co-conspirators) …intended for the bomb to go off right before dawn, which gave them several hours where they could have called in a warning,” the witness told me in a 1995 interview. But I also believe he didn’t care if it did hurt someone.”

    The jury found Chanbliss guilty of murder and sentenced him to life  in prison, where he died at age 81.

    “I’m sure he did it,” said defense attorney Paul Hanes Jr. after the trial. “The man had less remorse than anybody I ever met.”

    The ordeal of facing her blood uncle, a soon to be convicted child killer in court, fears of retaliation, harassing phone calls and other, more subtle threats, transformed Libby Cobbs life, her view of herself, and eventually her identity and her sex.

    Shortly after the trial,  she resigned from the Methodist ministry, divorced, and became the first pastor of Birmingham’s gay and lesbian Metropolitan Community Church. In 1979 she moved to Texas; after two years of surgery and hormone therapy at the University of Texas medical school, a judge declared her legally a male: Petric J. “Pete” Smith.

    As Pete Smith, the aged killer’s former niece wrote a book about her uncle, the crime and his trial:  Long Time Coming, distributed by Crane Hill Publishing of Birmingham. A smoker, Cobbs/Smith   died in 1998 of lung cancer.

    About two years after “Dynamite Bob’s ” conviction, I visited Chambliss at Alabama’s Kilby Prison and listened to him proclaim his lack of guilt: “I would kneel on my mother’s grave and tell you I never bombed anybody, I never killed anybody,” he said.

    He claimed his lawyers “framed” him by telling him strongly not to testify, lest prosecutors badger or trick him into self-incrimination on cross-examination.

    Not so, responded Art Hanes Jr. “Our entire defense was based on the argument that here was an old man in 1963 who talked pretty rough, but who swore he didn’t do it. But then, he wouldn’t tell that to the jury.”

    Chambliss described the Klan to me as a grim enforcer, not just of white supremacy, but morals and personal behavior, as well. He told how he and his fellow hooded Klansmen showed up one night prepared to horsewhip a fellow who reputedly spent his income on booze and women while his family usually went hungry.

    Chambliss said he went looking in the kitchen of a small building behind the small house and found flour, side meat, other food — I can’t recall what all — and announced: “Somebody’s been lying about this man!”

    So the Klan let him go with a warning: “Take your wife and kids to church and Sunday school or we will whip you!”

    (Birmingham Public Library Archives)

    ###
    Bill Montgomery

    Bill Montgomery

    Bill Montgomery, aka "Monty," packed it in a few years back after 38 years as a reporter with the AJC, covering mostly crime and other forms of public insanity, such as political campaigns, strip club crackdowns, and the Georgia legislature. His career includes coverage of zanies that run the gamut from Lester Maddox and J.B. Stoner to Larry Flynt, and crime reporting that followed the 1973 Alday family killings in South Georgia to the execution of ringleader Carl Isaacs 30 years later, and the 20-year saga of Palm Beach millionaire James V. Sullivan, who hired the murder of his estranged wife at her Buckhead condo by a gunman packing a pistol in a box of roses. Montgomery lives in a Decatur condo with his wife Linda and their Boston terrier.

     

    Print Friendly

     

    Note: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for the agreed-upon rules of civility. Comments do not reflect the views of LikeTheDew.com. Comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click here to report a violation.

    • http://hannah.smith-family.com/ Monica Smith

      The “Law and Order Gang,” they use the law to order people around. We’ve got one sitting on Capitol Hill. Hiding behind the budget, lets them do it surreptitiously. All hail to the 1%ers!

    • jingle

      bill, you gotta do a book. i’ll buy the first (and many) copies. jingle

  • Worthy of Comment



  • Also on the Dew

    Forever Young, Forever Scarred

    Forever Young, Forever Scarred

    By: Jeff Cochran

    May you always do for others And let others do for you. Words of advice, if not instruction, for the years and decades ahead, from Bob Dylan in "Forever Young," a song he wrote in 1973 and recorded twice for the next year's album, Planet Waves . The first version is slow and reverential, underscoring the serious nature of his father-to-son advise, while the second is uptempo and snappy, bringing enthusiasm to the same words on what awaits in life. Dylan, with energized backing from The Band, makes the directive, "May you grow up to be righteous" sound exhilarating. In the notes  Read on →

    Grace Behind the Cotton Curtain

    Grace Behind the Cotton Curtain

    By: Louie Clay

    When I met Ernest, we courted for five months, and after we married, on February 2, 1974, in Fort Valley, GA. That was 40 years ago.   I wrote my parents in Anniston, AL.  They replied with the hardest letter that I have ever received. They knew I was gay. That was not their problem. Ernest's being black was the hard part for them. In their letter they wished us all happiness but asked me not to bring Ernest home with me. They hoped that I would continue to visit, but they did not want to put their friends to t  Read on →

    McCain and Graham’s Salami Strategy

    McCain and Graham’s Salami Strategy

    By: John Hickman

    That hawkish Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have once again blasted President Barack Obama for an insufficiently bellicose foreign policy barely qualifies as news. Of course they did. That is what they do. The scorpion always stings the frog halfway across the stream. What is worth noting is the rationale offered they present for a much riskier American foreign policy. The August 28th press release from the un-dynamic duo is a complaint about President Obama not doing enough to punish President Putin for violating Ukrainian sovereignty. Seems they are outraged that the President of Russia dares to assist beleaguered  Read on →

    Fly Up, Drive Back: a New York City/Atlanta Driveby

    Fly Up, Drive Back: a New York City/Atlanta Driveby

    By: Tom Ferguson

    Monday, Day One: newly merged Southwest Air/Air Tran offered the best price, $144 one way Atlanta/New York City. The sore butt that kicked in about halfway, and lingered, suggests one of the reasons - but the thrifty, I’ve learned, endure the affordable. The relief of wheels thumping good ol’ runway quickly faded, replaced by the stress of navigating around outside my current comfort zone. Once the new terrain becomes familiar, the zone expands and that’s when the fun starts. Walking from 14th street to the East Village, St. Mark’s Place near the Great Hall at Cooper Union, is where that happene  Read on →