by Nina Simone
In 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama, four little girls were killed in a racist bombing of a church that Civil Rights organizers worked out of. Nina Simone describes hearing about the bombing as a breakthrough moment. Although she had been involved with Civil Rights since 1961, she was never really full-force about it. When she heard about those four innocent little girls getting killed, she got angry—really angry. The first thing she did was go to her garage to fashion a weapon. Her husband at the time had to talk her down from violence and tried to convince her to write songs instead. Beginning with "Mississippi Goddam," which she wrote that very week, that is just what she did. The title and concept for "Four Women" might be a tribute to the four girls in Birmingham who never got to become women.