(Editor’s Note: This is Part II pf the story started last week. Part III will be published on Sunday, March 29.)

By the time the Collins children arrived for church a couple weeks later, Sunday school had already started. The sisters ventured to the women’s lounge in the basement, and then Janie headed to her class upstairs while Sarah and Addie Mae waited in the lounge until their lesson let out. Soon, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson joined them in the lounge. Addie and the other girls had gathered near the lounge’s large windows, sharing news of the first days of school, Sarah behind them at the wash basin, when Denise asked Addie to tie the sash on her dress. Beneath the stairs just outside the windows, more than a dozen sticks of dynamite lay bundled, a timer ticking down.

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