Robert Edward Chambliss

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Robert Edward Chambliss
Born(1904-01-14)January 14, 1904
DiedOctober 29, 1985(1985-10-29) (aged 81)
Other names"Dynamite Bob"
Known forParticipant in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing
Criminal statusDeceased
MotiveWhite supremacy
Criminal chargeMurder
PenaltyMultiple terms of life imprisonment

Robert Edward Chambliss (January 14, 1904 – October 29, 1985), also known as Dynamite Bob,[1] was a white supremacist terrorist convicted in 1977 of murder for his role as conspirator in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963. A member of the United Klans of America, Chambliss allegedly also firebombed the houses of several black families in Alabama.

Investigation and conviction[edit]

A May 13, 1965 memo to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director J. Edgar Hoover identified Chambliss, Bobby Frank Cherry, Herman Frank Cash and Thomas E. Blanton, Jr. as suspects in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four young African-American girls.[2]

The investigation was originally closed in 1968; no charges were filed. Years later it was found that the FBI had accumulated evidence against the named suspects that had not been revealed to the prosecutors by order of J. Edgar Hoover. Edgar Hoover stopped and shut down the investigation in 1968. The files were used by Alabama attorney general Bill Baxley to reopen the case in 1971.[2] In 1977 Chambliss was convicted of murder for the bombing and sentenced to several terms of life imprisonment. He died in Lloyd Noland Hospital and Health Center in Birmingham on October 29, 1985,[1] still proclaiming his innocence. He was 81.

Chambliss served his time in a prison near Montgomery, Alabama.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Robert E. Chambliss, Figure in '63 Bombing". The New York Times. 30 October 1985. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b Clary, Mike (14 April 2001). "Birmingham's Painful Past Reopened". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  3. ^ Raines, Howell (20 May 2000). "Alabama Presses the Klan to Answer for Its Most Heinous Bombing". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 June 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Sikora, Frank (2005). Until Justice Rolls Down: The Birmingham Church Bombing Case. University of Alabama Press. ISBN 9780817352684.

See also[edit]