To celebrate her 14th birthday on June 24, Mo'ne Davis will be recalling one of the most somber moments in American history with the rest of her Anderson Monarch's baseball team.
The team, coached by Steve Bandura, will be taking a tour of civil rights sites in the south including the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., where four little girls, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, all 14, and Denise McNair, 11, were murdered during a racially motivated church bombing in 1963. That's the site the team will visit on Mo'ne's birthday. On a tour that's a mix of baseball and social awareness, much like the team's modus operandi, the young teens, all the rest boys and mostly black, will play ball and visit Little Rock Central High School and Medgar Evers' former residence in Jackson, Miss.
Even the Anderson Monarchs' team name harkens back to social and political awareness. They're named after the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, Marian Anderson, and the Negro Leagues team on which Jackie Robinson was the star, the Kansas City Monarchs.
Davis told Frank Bruni of the New York Times that she was excited for the trip but understood the magnitude and sadness associated with it.
Of the girls killed in the Ala. church bombing, Mo'ne said, "I do feel really bad because they could have changed the world. And for them to lose their lives at such a young age? You never know what they could have done."
Ahead of the tour, the 13- and 14-year-old Monarchs have been studying civil rights literature and watching documentaries, like "4 Little Girls," a film about the Birmingham church bombing, for the past six months. According to the Anderson Monarchs' Twitter account, the 23-day, 20-city tour kicks off June 17.