The Birmingham Times
With a grant from Jack and Jill of America Foundation, contributions of local community members and resources, and enhancements provided by national retailer, Home Depot, The Ballard House Project, Inc. has worked to beautify burial sites of the young victims of the 1963 horrific bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.
The four grave sites are in historic Greenwood Cemetery maintained by the City of Birmingham, and Elmwood Cemetery. A local engineering company, Sarcor, LLC, and local lawn services company, Black Vision Lawn Care and Landscaping, served as contractors for installation and maintenance.
Initiated in the final quarter of 2020, the project entails the beautification (plants and garden materials) at the grave sites of Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins, all located at Greenwood Cemetery and to beautify the gravesite of Denise McNair, who is buried in her family plot in Elmwood Cemetery.
“This is sacred space,” said Majella Chube Hamilton, Executive Director of The Ballard House Project, Inc. “And once Jack and Jill of America erected a monument of remembrance, dedicated to Carole Robertson, her mother Mrs. Alpha Robertson, and all four girls, we shared the organization’s interest in enhancing the immediate grounds of the grave sites at the cemeteries.”
With grant funds by Jack and Jill of America Foundation, The Ballard House Project initiated this beautification project with the approval of the City of Birmingham and the families to honor their legacy within the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement.
“Our hope is to provide beauty, peace, and comfort to the families, while undergirding education and inspiration for area residents and families who may learn about their sacrifice and transformational impact on our community, country and world,” Hamilton said.
Robertson was a teen member of the organization’s Birmingham Chapter at the time of her death. Mrs. Alpha Robertson, Carole’s mother, was an active member and served as the national organization’s first Southeastern Regional Director a few years prior to the bombing.
“It is very important that we remember the four innocent little girls who lost their lives so tragically 60 years ago at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church,” said Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated National President Kornisha McGill Brown. “I am grateful that Jack and Jill of America supports several efforts to commemorate Carole’s memory, including the beautification project to enhance the burial sites of the young victims …”
According to Hamilton, The Ballard House Project solicited the advice and assistance of Home Depot through its Birmingham-Eastwood store in late Spring of 2023. Monique Holiness, the Eastwood Home Depot Store Manager, said, “One of Home Depot’s core values is giving back. I am so proud to work for an organization that takes pride in supporting the local community.”