Read While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement by Carolyn Maull McKinstry Denise George Online


On September 15, 1963, a Klan-planted bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull was just a few feet away when the bomb exploded, killing four of her friends in the girl’s rest room she had just exited. It was one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement, a sad day in American history . . . and the turOn September 15, 1963, a Klan-planted bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull was just a few feet away when the bomb exploded, killing four of her friends in the girl’s rest room she had just exited. It was one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement, a sad day in American history . . . and the turning point in a young girl’s life. While the World Watched is a poignant and gripping eyewitness account of life in the Jim Crow South—from the bombings, riots and assassinations to the historic marches and triumphs that characterized the Civil Rights movement. A uniquely moving exploration of how racial relations have evolved over the past 5 decades, While the World Watched is an incredible testament to how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go....

Title : While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781414353036
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 301 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement Reviews

  • Chrissie
    2018-09-26 23:51

    Some aspects of this book were wonderful. Other aspects left me stone-cold. I think it is a good book and definitely worth reading, so I gave it three stars. I very much appreciate both its factual content and the in-depth portrayal of the author, Carolyn. This is a book very much aimed at those with a strong religious faith, which I do not have. Throughout the entire book hymns and bible verses and psalms are quoted, as well as speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. Quotes make up a significant portion of the book. Given their historic content, hearing parts of these speeches was always interesting. The concluding theme of the book is that we must seek reconciliation and forgive those who have harmed us. The entire epilogue of about a half hour was a proselytizing sermon. I turned it off; the remaining 20 minutes I didn't listen to. I just could not take it anymore. What I liked, and that which explains why I can still give this book three stars, is that the reader is given a moving and at the same time very clear eye witness account of the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 15, 1963. A seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement. In the rest of this paragraph I recount the events, so stop here if you want no spoiler. The four girls killed in the bombing were the author's friends. She spoke with them in the girls’ restroom minutes before the explosion. Leaving them, she mounted stairs that seconds later were disintegrated. After the explosion she frantically looked everywhere for her two younger brothers whom she had accompanied to the church and for whom she was responsible. Carolyn was then fourteen years old. Her account doesn't end there. After the event she was given no psychological guidance, contrary to current practices. Nothing from her parents, nothing from medically trained personnel, nothing from anybody. Silence, not only after the bombing itself but also in the following years. Eventually her psychological trauma became so intense she did seek help. You follow what happens to her two brothers. You follow the community's and the nation's response. You come to understand how her whole world collapsed with that bombing, and there were more bombings, another in the following year across the street from her home. All hope was placed in President Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and then Bobby Kennedy. All were assassinated. I comprehend how the church was her entire world. The events are emotional, heartrending but clear and concise. In 2002, almost forty years after the bombing she was forced to relive it all again in trial proceedings; she was subpoenaed to testify on behalf of the accused! The book follows the course of the author’s life until publishing this book in 2011.The historical facts are clearly presented. The telling is moving. The statistics presented are relevant, simple to comprehend and they say volumes. The audiobook is narrated by Felicia Bullock. It is movingly read. She reads very slowly, much of the time extremely slowly, particularly when she wishes to impart the gravity of the events. She sings the hymns. She has a lovely, strong base voice. So I am very glad I read this. I understand the woman. Even if I don't have religious faith myself, I do understand hers. The history is well documented.

  • Susan
    2018-09-29 21:42

    This is the first hand account of the civil rights movement by a woman who witnessed it. Carolyn Maull was just a teenager living in Birmingham, Alabama when a bomb blew up the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and killed four of her friends. She recalls the incident, her fears, her hurts and the people who inspired her. This is a tragic part of American history that everyone should educate themselves about. I was just a little girl at the time and I can remember when these girls were killed. I was always sheltered from the outside world and as a white child I really knew nothing about prejudice and hate. But I can remember the incident because it was girls close to my age and it happened in church, a place that should always be a place of refuge. Birmingham, Alabama was a hotbed of racial hatred. During these dark years, many brave people stepped up for what they believed in. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. emerged as a leader for not only the black community, but for everyone who believes that equality is for all. I was glad to see so many of his speeches included in this book. I have read bits and pieces, but this gives me much more to refer to. I learned so much about the children’s peace marches that I didn’t know. Until I read this first-hand account, I had a vague vision of what happened. But to read it is shear horror. Grown adults spraying children with fire hoses, loosing dogs on them, and jailing them is horrible when all they were doing was clapping and singing. One of the youngest children was only four-years-old. What really shocked me is that it wasn’t until 2009, just two years ago, that the criminal charges against those children were dropped. That means they had to live their whole lifetime with criminal charges on their record. Obviously things have changed, but there is still a lot of change that needs to come. I hope that if I am ever put in a situation where I have to choose between standing up for what is right or siding with my peers, that I will have the courage to do the right thing. Martin Luther King Jr, was a great leader, but other quieter leaders have emerged and one of those is Carolyn Maull McKinstry. Thank you, Carolyn, for your story.I won this book in Goodread's First Read giveaway.

  • Natalie Vellacott
    2018-10-03 01:44

    I gave up on this half-way through. It is another attempt to turn a few hour event into a full length novel. The problem is that although the event itself may be interesting, the rest of the book is generally not. The author details her early life and events on the day in question in minute detail. These details describe a normal day in the life of many Americans and do not make for interesting reading. The author quotes extensively from the speeches of Martin Luther King who is obviously an important figure in her life, it may have been better for her to use relevant quotes.The content was not overtly Christian. I wouldn't recommend this as it was just not that interesting.

  • Ruth
    2018-10-09 19:45

    I appreciate and applaud the author's willingness to tell her story and trumpet the message of recovery and reconciliation. Both her story and her message are important, and I felt that this book offered a nice bit of emotional counterpoint to the other book I've been reading on the Civil Rights movement: a book written with near complete objectivity. The reason for the low rating was that I wasn't a fan of the book's format and style. Barring the epilogue, which is insightful and articulate, the voice of the rest of the narrative feels rather bland -- surprising, given the depth of emotions she obviously experienced. In addition, the long quotes from Dr. King's speeches (a bit too lengthy, especially for readers already well-versed in the movement) often interrupted the narrative abruptly with little to no segue. Also--in the Kindle edition, at least--the photographs don't appear until the very end of the file, leaving the reader deprived of their crisp reality until after they've already read the entire book.

  • Carly
    2018-09-18 19:40

    Highly recommended. I decided to read this book partly because someone recently posted a quotation from MLK on Facebook. It was about loving thy neighbor, and I wondered how MLK could feel and preach love after witnessing the atrocities so many people had been through (and experiencing them himself).This book is an account of what one woman went through during a painful time in US history, as well as her life afterward. It is a story of the amazing faith and courage people can assume when they are filled with hope and love. Even if you are not a particularly religious person, you will appreciate Ms. Maull McKinstry's path through pain, devotion to people, and faith in any higher power to help us through daily pains and frustrations.I was happy to receive an earful of history about the Birmingham church bombing, which though aware of its occurrence I did not realize it marked the turning point in the Civil Rights movement. I really enjoyed the speech excerpts, quotations from MLK, JFK, and Barack Obama throughout the book. And the Jim Crow laws printed at the end are alone worth alone, they made me so sad, as well as proud of those who have struggled over time to overcome such ignorance and hatred.

  • Christine
    2018-09-26 02:37

    From the book description “On September 15, 1963, a Klan-planted bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull was just a few feet away when the bomb exploded, killing four of her friends in the girl’s rest room she had just exited. It was one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement, a sad day in American history . . . and the turning point in a young girl’s life.”Living through the civil rights upheaval of the 1960’s as a teenager was difficult for Ms. McKinstry. Not only did the bomb explode mere feet from where she was standing but she also lost four of her closest friends in the Baptist Church bombing and that impacted her life in ways she herself did not even realize until she was an adult. Despite living and growing up in “the most segregated and racially violent city in America", with the help of a strong family and unwavering faith she managed to go on with her life, education and career. Even so, it was difficult when many years later she was called to testify in the bomber’s trial, bringing every minute of that fateful day back to the forefront.Growing up in Canada, I am probably not as informed about the civil rights movement as I could be but I found this book both interesting and enlightening. My only complaint would be that it felt a little disjointed. Ms. McKinstry slips into different time periods from time to time with no real explanation or warning. She also interspersed her telling of her story with quotes from speeches by Martin Luther King, JFK and others and I found that rather than adding to that particular section of her story it distracted me from what she herself was saying.

  • Suzanne
    2018-10-06 01:38

    I worked at the same company as Carolyn for a few years and knew that she had been at the church when the bomb went off and that the four girls who died had been close friends of hers. Carolyn was 14 at the time and she tells her viewpoint of not only the bombing but the whole year of 1963, etc. Interspersed with quotes and passages of speeches from Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy, her text interlaced her personal experiences, the current laws and social mores of the south with the horrible images (attack dogs, Billy clubs, fire hoses, bombings) of that time to give the reader a visceral feel for what it had to have been like for a young girl who called Birmingham her home.I am enjoying reading the book although I must admit I have to take breaks from it to deal with my inner shame and anger that all this happened. Carolyn lived through a tumultuous time in the history of Birmingham, Alabama, and the whole country. I am grateful she wrote her memories and thoughts down to share with the rest of us and to leave a first hand account of those events for future historians to use as a source. Her book can be viewed as her current contribution to the civil rights movement just as much as her participation in the children's March of 1963 where she was pummeled with high pressure water from the fire hoses and was almost arrested, contributed in the early days of the cause. Everyone should read this book - it is a classic.

  • Naomi Blackburn
    2018-09-18 18:49

    This book was so good that once I sat down today and finally got it started I actually finished it in 3 hours. I literally couldn't put it down. Totally different than what I expected. It is beautifully written and poignant, yet in a very simple way. If I could give this book more stars I would. One would never guess with how personally this book is written and brings you into a very ugly story that she has the impressive resume that she has. I think I had expected it to be more academically written and that was far from the truth. I felt like I was there with the little girl who lived through a very ugly period in US history and the aftermath it had on her life.

  • Nedra Haymon
    2018-10-19 18:33

    I just remembered after a post from a friend that I had read this book. Excellent look back at a sad time during Civil Rights Movement. It's intense, so be ready.

  • Jill
    2018-10-18 02:22

    On Sunday, September 15th, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama, four young girls (Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins (14), Carole Robertson (14) and Cynthia Wesley (14)) lost their lives in the racist bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. They were in the girl’s restroom where another young girl had been laughing and chatting with them just moments before. Her name was Carolyn Maull and this book is her story, not just of that precipitous moment in time, but of the era of the Civil Rights movement from the eyes of a young girl living not on the fringes, but dead center of the most violently racist city in the United States at that time. This is a not merely a story of hatred, but also of hope, love and forgiveness. The events related in this book are history that many of us lived through, many of us can remember reading in the daily news, and other, younger people have learned through their study of American history. I can remember most of these events from the newspaper and nightly news in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but this account goes beyond the journalistic efforts of the period. No reader will come away from this book without learning something, and no reader will come away without their heart having been touched. No book about these events can exist without the presence of certain bigger-than-life heroes: Martin Luther King, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, John F. Kennedy, and more. Ms. McKinstry has included portions of several of MLK’s speeches that will, for those of us who lived that era, bring his voice into our heads as we hear, if only in memory, the cadence of his speech. Lines like “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” abound and transport us back a half-century.Ms. McKinstry lost her innocence, her childhood, that day in 1963. For many years she moved through life, earning a college degree, eventually marrying and having children, yet never truly coming to grips with the horrors of that day. That was the day she lost four friends, one of them her closest friend. That was the day she looked the most profound form of hatred in the eye and learned of the existence of evil. When she married some years later, her husband was not even aware that she had played a role in the infamous Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. It would be many more years filled with private grief before Carolyn would be able to confide in him. Ms. McKinstry is a literate, intelligent writer and she has done an excellent job in both researching and writing this book. My only criticism is that there is some repetition that sometimes becomes slightly annoying, but it in no way interfered with my ability to enjoy this story, to learn from this story, and to be touched beyond words by this story. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. In fact, I think it should be required reading in high school American History courses, as it is certainly more interesting and informative than the textbooks. I hope some who read this review and then read the book will send me a message on Goodreads and let me know what you thought. Happy reading!

  • Nina
    2018-09-27 19:22

    I've studies and read a good amount about this time period throughout my life, but "While the World Watched" gave me a different perspective on the Civil Rights Movement. There were moments as I read this where I put myself in Mrs. McKinstry's place and was shocked by how much worse it would have been to live as a black person then - worse than I ever imagined. Historical books have always fascinated me. This book went through many famous occasions in the Civil Rights Movement, but made them personal. Instead of reading about these events as simply something that happened, I was able see effects they had on those involved in them. Because this is an autobiography, there were facts and stories I've never read about that only someone who was in the middle of the action would know. Overall this is a intriguing book. It kept me reading.(I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads)

  • Lisa
    2018-10-15 21:38

    Carolyn was the same age as her four friends who were killed by the bomb planted at Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Her work as a volunteer in the church office put her in touch with one of the bombers that fateful, historical day, saved her life, forced her to testify for the defense in one bomber's trial, decades later, and indelibly, profoundly affected her - for worse and ultimately for better - thereafter.This book is at various points her memoir, a decades-long firsthand account of race relations in America's South and the Civil Rights Movement; a sermon; and a case study of traumatic experiences with do's and don'ts for recognizing and addressing their effects. I only wish Carolyn had a better editor. This important content could have - should have - better served her, her audience, and the events and experiences she describes.

  • Robert Teter
    2018-10-04 18:47

    Carolyn Maull McKinstry, really brings you into the time in our History when The Bombing of the 16th Street Church, time in our lives, where if you were not there, or even old enough to know about this part of our history, she brings you inside the church, into the lives of those girls that were killed, her life, and what life was about in those days.Next year, will mark the 50th Anniversary of the Bombing, and this is a must read book, it is one that I will read again, and again to bring me back to a time where history, to be recalled like how McKinstry brings it back, she is just amazing writer.

  • Amanda Baker
    2018-10-12 21:41

    I loved this book. Being able to relive what nobody seems to talk about anymore through the eyes of a person who was directly affected by it was very powerful. I wish people would not criticize the author's writing style, but instead, listen to what she is saying. I can't imagine reliving these events was easy, and I'm grateful that she did it so I could read it.

  • Adam Fehr
    2018-10-16 00:36

    This true story recounts the Civil Rights Movement (especially in the 60s) and tells of the horrors of racial discrimination. It is hard to believe just how cruel man can be simply because of the color of someone else's skin. Hearing this story, made me want to stand up for the blacks during the Civil Rights crisis. But I wonder. If I had been alive during that period, would I have actually defended the defenseless, or would I have accepted it like virtually all of the other Americans living during that time. It makes you think. Perhaps I would only watch, distancing myself from a fight that seemed that it was not my own. But the truth is that we all must fight for what is right. Of course, not resorting to actual violence, but using Martin Luther King Jr.'s strategy--putting out the hate and racial injustice with love. One of my favorite lines in the book from one of King's speeches is this: "Darkness cannot put out darkness. Only light can do that."I appreciate the spirit of forgiveness that is prevalent throughout the book. Carolyn even forgave the people who bombed her church, killing her four friends. She was able to forgive, because God forgave. It's wonderful to hear how God pulled Carolyn through those really hard times, harder than most anybody has to face. God enabled her to give up her drinking, her bitterness, and give her life to Himself. A powerful story that is most definitely worth the read. If you want to learn more of the history of the Civil Rights Movement, and, if you want to learn how God can work through any situation, read this book.

  • Cara Meredith
    2018-10-13 20:40

    I enjoyed learning more about this (horrific) historic event, but honestly, it wasn't so much the main character's story, but her connection to (and capitalization on) the greater story at large. I appreciated the interweaving of various MLK speeches, but it felt like those were inserted to fill space.

  • Kate
    2018-10-16 02:34

    When we think of the 1960s in the US South, and of the Civil Rights Movement, we likely think of Rosa Parks, of the peaceful protests, and especially of Dr. Martin Luther King.Do we know about 16th Street Baptist Church, about Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley? These 4 were murdered there: victims of a bomb planted by the Ku Klux Klan. Denise was 11. The rest of the girls were 14. Just children.Did you know about them? I did not! And I wonder why?Have we glossed over the absolute brutality that was perpetrated upon people of colour in the US in those days, in favour of the 'feel-good' stories of Rosa Parks, refusing to give up her seat, or the emotionally moving speeches of Dr. King? This was not an easy book to read. It made me cry in several places, aching for the loss that young Carolyn Maull suffered. She was best friends with Cynthia, and good friends with Addie, Denise, and Carol. It made me sad, and ashamed that so many people were treated so unfairly and brutally. It made me wonder, and hope desperately, that I would have been on the side of equality and freedom if I had been alive at that time in history. The descriptions of typical 'Jim Crow' laws absolutely broke my heart.No, this book was not easy to read, by any means. But, is it supposed to be? Isn't it supposed to be devastating to read of such injustices? Isn't it supposed to make our hearts break to learn of 4 little girls, who would likely be grandmothers today if they had not been murdered in their girlhood? Isn't it supposed to make us wince in shame to read about what happened to other people, simply because their skin colour was 'wrong'?I think the reasons why this book was so hard to read are the exact reasons why it is so important to read it. Carolyn was able to come to a place where she forgave the men who murdered her friends. She, like Dr. King, reminds us that God is love, and that we cannot possibly come to Him without first clearing our hearts of anger and hatred and choosing to forgive and to love.I know I will never be the same after having read this important memoir, and I thank Mrs. McKinstry for being brave enough to write it!

  • Emily
    2018-09-24 02:33

    This was actually a selection from SYNC-YA in 2014, but I kept putting off reading it due to the heavy subject matter (I primarily read to escape). Given the events of June 17, 2015, however, this seemed like an excellent time to finally get around to reading it. Do we really still live in a world where people can't find sanctuary within their own church? Well, of course we do, and the problem remains endemic in the South. So what did I learn from McKinstry's take on the Birmingham Church Bombing? Don't drink, trust in Jesus, and follow MLK. Okay, I know that's facetious coming from an agnostic, but that's a fair summary of the book's themes. I think what was interesting to me to see how much the words of Martin Luther King Jr. informed the response in Charleston. I'm concerned about a better world. I'm concerned about justice; I'm concerned about brotherhood; I'm concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't murder murder.Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind's problems. And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn't popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I'm not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I'm talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. I've seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I've seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.We have to keep moving forward.

  • Adam Shields
    2018-10-05 18:38

    Short Review: While the World Watched is a first person account of the 1963 16th Street Church Bombing where four young teenage girls died, and her life after that bombing. This is a book well worth reading to get a sense of the civil rights movement for someone that was a young teen. She was probably the last person to see the four girls before they died (she left the bathroom just before the bomb went off). The book does a good job not lionizing the civil rights movement, while at the same time showing how normal people were both scared and pissed off by the system.It also spends time talking about pain, depression, eventual decent into alcoholism and what would probably be described as PTSD today. That is a side that most other books don't seem to mention and I think is important to telling the whole story of the civil rights movement.Other reviews complain about the long extended quotes of speeches, sermons, songs and other documents of the era. I think that these other documents (especially in the audiobook) give greater context.I expected that much of the book would be about the particular day, but really the book is mostly about her life after the day. Today she is the head of the foundation that oversees the 16th Street church and she has gone to seminary and works for reconciliation. That story is as important as remembering the bombing.My full review is on my blog at

  • Kim
    2018-09-23 23:30

    A personal look at a gruesome time in history. The author, Mrs. Mckinstry came of age during the Jim Crow era...and witnessed and even played a part in the fight for civil rights/ human rights. She didn't realize the gravity of racial injustice and hate until September 15, 1963, the day her church was bombed, and the day she lost her childhood friends. The day her life was changed. I enjoyed this book...unlike anything I've ever read. While I read, it was almost hard to imagine the injustices of that time. There's a stark difference between reading about racial prejudice and civil rights in a textbook and reading an autobiographical account. It tugs at your heart because you begin, like any other story or account, to put yourself in the character's try to feel what the character is feeling or felt. While I'll never feel the way Mrs. Mckinstry did/does...I still ached for her. For all the people who lived in that time. For the lost lives, lost children. While we have more work to be done, I'm so grateful to her and to the many leaders of her time for not accepting the status quo. While the World Watched is a poignant and inspirational account of the civil rights era. It made me more appreciative of what I have, the opportunities I have, and my family. And of course, it made me more appreciative of people like Mrs. Mckinstry, whom I am truly in awe of.

  • Lauren Stoolfire
    2018-09-25 21:39

    September 15, 1963 was a major turning point in 14 year-old Carolyn Maull's life. On that day she was just feet from a bomb planted in her church by the KKK when it went off killing four of her friends. Not only was this day a turning point in her life, but also the Civil Rights Movement. This memoir acts a an eyewitness account of life in the Jim Crow South - from violent bombings, assassinations, and riots to the peaceful marches and protests that came to characterize the Civil Rights Movement. We see Carolyn attempt to make sense of all that's going on around her and find her place there. The memoir also documents how racial relations have changed and evolved over the course of 50 years, as primarily focused on Birmingham, Alabama. Before reading this I didn't know very much about the church bombing at all - let alone that it was a major turning point in more than one way. I really appreciate first hand accounts like this. My only issues here are with the format. At times, the narration could jump from her testimony of the day itself, other events, and speeches (excellent use of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s words) with little to no segue between them. It could come across as a abrupt and a little confusing if listening to the audiobook. Overall, I highly recommend her gut-wrenching perspective on his influential time in history.

  • Lisa
    2018-10-07 02:50

    It's a rare and delightful experience to read an eyewitness account of history, and Carolyn Maull McKinstry's stories about growing up in Birmingham during the Civil Rights movement is engaging and challenging. I learned things I never did in American history, and I appreciated the inclusion of excerpts from famous speeches by Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy. I can hardly believe that people survived such a tumultuous decade, and McKinstry's story is proof that even decades after such horrific events, the tragedy left its mark.I found this book incredibly relevant for today's world. We might not have Jim Crow laws or state-sanctioned segregation but events such as the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown demonstrate that the dream of racial equality has not yet been reached. Reading McKinstry's account of life in the South in the 1960s is a challenging reminder of the dangers of not treating people as equals.McKinstry offers forgiveness for those who orchestrated the bombing of her church, where four of her friends died, and issues a challenge to all who claim the name of Christ to love our neighbors and work for justice. I am inspired by her words and humbled by the courage of those who lived through this time of history and can tell about it.

  • Becki
    2018-10-15 20:36

    Great Story Lost in Poor EditingI really wanted to love this book. Carolyn has a powerful and inspiring story to tell. I just wish it wasn't buried below pages and pages of quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and President Kennedy. Around halfway through the book I just started to feel like I couldn't keep going. I came here to Goodreads to see if other people had the same experience with the book or if I just wasn't trying hard enough. But it appears from other reviews that my complaints are pretty similar to the complaints of others. The story was very disjointed. At times I had a hard time keeping track of whether we were in the present, a flashback to a memory or even a jump ahead to some other piece of history that they wanted to reference. There were far too many quotes from other people that were stuck in to the story in weird places and made it hard for the story to flow. Carolyn lived through more than anyone should. She is incredibly brave and I'm grateful to her for sharing her story. I just wish the editor or whoever she worked with to put the story together, had done a better job of conveying her incredibly powerful message.

  • Linda
    2018-10-14 21:42

    This memoir paints a vivid picture of what it was like to live in Birmingham during the Civil Rights Movement. The tragic events described in this book occurred before I was born, and even though I had learned about many of them before, the author's perspective helped me understand the Civil Rights Movement in a way that I did not grasp before; as a whole as well as the impact on a single person.In this book, Carolyn Maull McKinstry shares the nightmare of the discrimination, intolerance and pain that she endured growing up in Birmingham. She shares the anger she felt and the dark days she lived through without being preachy. But, most importantly, she shares her hope for the future and remarkably, forgiveness. Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

  • Sara
    2018-09-28 22:34

    This book was written by a woman who survived the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church as a child in the 1960's. She lost 4 of her friends in the blast, and this is a story of how she rose above undiagnosed PTSD and learned to forgive and give her life to God.There are many excerpts of Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches, some moving photos, and it really helps to explain exactly how awful segregation was in the South by someone who was actually there. She describes being involved in Dr. King's child protests and how the daily terror of being afraid of being killed affected her life. She discusses the murders of Dr. King, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and other civil rights notables also. This is an important book, which describes the Civil Rights movement in an emotional and accessable way. Highly recommended.

  • Lorrie
    2018-10-16 22:22

    Seriously good. Factual and historic detailing of the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King; the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL and subsequent deaths of 4 young girls; the deaths of Dr. King, President Kennedy, and Senator Robert Kennedy; the segregation and integration of AL; and, the altered and affected life of Carolyn Maull McKinstry, author, who had been in the bathroom at the church with the girls/her friends only moments earlier. Maull McKinstry really digs into what it was like to be a young, innocent, naïve child (pre-bombing of the church) to the current, educated woman she is today. I can't help but wonder if now that the church has been rennovated, is the girls' bathroom still closed up with the new wall like it was never there?

  • Melanie
    2018-09-19 20:24

    Fantastic eye opening firsthand account of the hardships and trials of a young black girl living through the Civil Rights Movement. It's so hard to sit there and read, wondering how the world could have ever sat back and let all of those events occur without batting an eyelash... and yet racism (although thankfully diminished from what occured here) still exists and is still very much a threat to our society and those who live in it. If you don't come out of reading this book with a new-found respect for people of color and the things they've had to endure to get to where they are today, you must have a heart made of cold, hard steel. This book touched me, and I would recommend it to anyone.

  • P.D. Bekendam
    2018-09-21 18:33

    I picked this up at a bargain price on Kindle's Daily Deal, and I'm glad I did. This is an important bit of history told from the invaluable perspective of an actual eyewitness. I am a Caucasian male who benefited from a sheltered, privileged childhood. If I want to better understand what it was like to grow up as an African American female in segregated Alabama, this is the book to read. Not only does this story provide history, it provides perspective. Sure the writing was simple at times, and the narrative may have jumped around a bit, but a valuable and compelling story lurks in these pages. Take the time to read it. I am thankful Mrs. McKinstry decided to tell her story.

  • Madelle
    2018-10-08 02:46

    Carolyn McKinstry was a young girl of 13 when the 16th Ave Baptist Church was bombed by the Klan and four of her best friends were killed. She lived with guilt over her survival for years. This is the story of history and of her struggle to come to grips with her place in the Civil Rights Movement. She is just one year younger than I and it was most interesting to read of this through her eyes as she watched and participated in civil rights struggles. Growing up in a lilly white Salem, Oregon, I feel that much of that era just passed me by. I need to be better informed.

  • Melissa (ladybug)
    2018-10-16 00:51

    A hard to read book that really hit home. It caused me to look at my own life and to see the (weeds) and my own (bigotries). This book caused me to think "would I have stood up for my belief in the equality of all"? or would I have just kept quiet and gone about my day saying (I just don't want to get involved!). This book caused me to cry and pray for Mrs. McKinstry and all people who are impacted by racism.