In January 1957, the home of Rev. Bob Graetz and his wife Jeannie, a White couple who were both very active in the civil rights movement in the city, was bombed. The home was the parsonage of the Trinity Lutheran Church.
The bomb blew the roof off the house and shattered every window. The couple and their four children, including a nine-day old infant were all at home but none were injured in the blast. If was the second time in five months that the home had been bombed. Four Black churches and the home of Rev. Ralph Abernathy were also bombed on the same night. Several arrests were made but none of those placed on trail were convicted.
The Graetz family recently heard that a handwritten letter describing the bombing and its aftermath was held at an auction house in New York City. The letter was written by Rosa Park, the civil rights era icon who had lived across the street from the Graetz’s home. The family pooled their funds and have purchased the letter and have donated it to the special collections archives of Alabama State University in Montgomery.
Janice Franklin, the director of the university’s archives stated that “the letter attests to all that the Graetz family went through so that freedom and equality could be enjoyed by all of God’s children, despite the color of their skin.. We are overjoyed because this will allow us to preserve and share this important document with the public and scholars alike.”