Bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple
|Bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple|
|Date||October 12, 1958|
|Target||Hebrew Benevolent Congregation (Reform Jewish temple)|
|Attack type||Dynamite bombing|
The Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple, a Reform Jewish temple located on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia, and known simply as "The Temple," was bombed in the early morning hours of October 12, 1958. An explosion of approximately fifty sticks of dynamite tore through the side wall of the building. The synagogue was one of Atlanta's oldest and wealthiest. No one was injured in the bombing.
Those who heard the blast reported a "loud explosion" to police and newspapers. A United Press International (UPI) staff member had received a call earlier that night warning that a bombing would occur, but did not take the call seriously. At 3:45 a.m., shortly after the bombing, UPI staff received a call from "General Gordon of the Confederate Underground" who said "We bombed a temple in Atlanta. This is the last empty building in Atlanta we will bomb. All nightclubs refusing to fire their Negro employees will also be blown up. We are going to blow up all Communist organizations. Negroes and Jews are hereby declared aliens."
Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, the temple's rabbi, was an outspoken advocate of civil rights and integration, and friend of Martin Luther King Jr. The bombing ripped at the delicate social fabric of Atlanta, a city that liked to think of itself as the "City too Busy to Hate."
Five men associated with the National States' Rights Party (NSRP) were tried and acquitted of the bombing.
The bombing was depicted in the film Driving Miss Daisy, though the movie places the bombing in 1966, not 1958.
Arrested and acquitted NSRP members and associates
- Wallace H. Allen, 33, an advertising salesman
- George Michael Bright, 35, a draftsman
- Kenneth Chester Griffin, 32, an auditor in the Georgia Tax Department
- Robert A. Bowling, 25, and his brother
- Richard Bowling, 26.
- Luther King Corley, released and not charged
- Greene, Melissa Faye, The Temple Bombing, ISBN 0-449-90809-7 (1996).
- Rosenberg, Adolph, "Dynamite Bomb Damages Atlanta Temple; Shocks City, State, and Nation into Action" Southern Israelite, October 17, 1958.
- Webb, Clive. "Counterblast: How the Atlanta Temple Bombing Strengthened the Civil Rights Cause." Southern Spaces 22 June 2009.
- "Five Indicted in Temple Bombing" newspaper articles