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Birmingham, Ala. — Civil rights activists are opposing parole for the last surviving Ku Klux Klan member convicted of murdering four black girls in a 1963 church bombing in Alabama.

Members of the Birmingham NAACP and other groups held a news conference Friday to protest the possible early release of 78-year-old Thomas Edwin Blanton Jr.

Blanton has served 15 years of a life sentence for being part of a group of Klansmen who bombed 16th Street Baptist Church.

Alabama’s parole board on Wednesday is set to consider Blanton for early release. But local NAACP president Hezekiah Jackson says freeing Blanton now during nationwide protests over police treatment of black people would send the wrong message.

Blanton has denied involvement in the bombing. He’s among three one-time Klansmen convicted in the blast.

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