Alabama sidesteps compensation for survivor of ’63 KKK blast
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By Jay Reeves, AP News
Sarah Collins Rudolph lost an eye and still has pieces of glass inside her body from a Ku Klux Klan bombing that killed her sister and three other Black girls at an Alabama church 59 years ago, and she’s still waiting on the state to compensate her for those injuries.
Gov. Kay Ivey sidestepped the question of financial compensation two years ago in apologizing to Rudolph for her “untold pain and suffering,” saying legislative involvement was needed. But nothing has been done despite the efforts of attorneys representing Rudolph, leaving unresolved the question of payment even though victims of other attacks, including 9/11, were compensated.
Rudolph, known as the “Fifth Little Girl” for surviving the infamous attack on 16th Street Baptist Church, which was depicted in Spike Lee’s 1997 documentary “4 Little Girls,” has been rankled by the state’s inaction.
Rudolph said she still incurs medical expenses from the explosion, including a $90 bill she gets every few months for work on the prosthetic she wears in place of the right eye that was destroyed by shrapnel on Sept. 15, 1963. Anything would help, but Rudolph believes she’s due millions.
Ishan Bhabha, an attorney representing Rudolph, said the state’s apology — made at Rudolph’s request along with a plea for restitution — was only meant as a first step.
“She deserves justice in the form of compensation for the grievous injuries, and costs, she has had to bear for almost 60 years,” he said. “We will continue to pursue any available avenues to get Sarah the assistance she needs and deserves.”
Reeves writes about Alabama’s failure to compensate Rudolph.
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