100 Cool Things #030: Bill Baxley’s Letter

Taken from Letters of Note:

In 1970, shortly after being elected Attorney General of Alabama, 29-year-old Bill Baxley reopened the 16th Street Church bombing case. The racially motivated act of terrorism, which killed four African-American girls in 1963, resulted in a fruitless investigation and marked a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement. Baxley’s unwavering commitment to the case attracted much hostility, particularly from local Klansmen. In 1976 he received a threatening letter of protest from white supremacist Edward R. Fields — founder of the “National States’ Rights Party” and “Grand Dragon” of the New Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan — in which Baxley was accused of reopening the case to score political points.

Bill Baxley’s famously succinct reply, which was typed on his official letterhead, is as follows

The next year, a member of the United Klans of America named Robert Chambliss was found guilty of the murders. He remained in prison until his death in 1985.

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