It is known that shortly the church would be blown away. The four little girls in the restroom would be murdered for no reason at all. All they wanted to do was to serve the church on that Sunday. In 2008 Barack Obama now President Barack Obama gave a speech about the bombing on that fateful, always memorable Sunday in Birmingham, Alabama. In his speech he names each little girl: Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley. All girls no older than fourteen years old. Barack Obama goes on to imagine what the girls might have chosen to do with their lives if they had lived beyond their so young years. "I imagine that in quiet moments, many of you have thought about who Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley might have become had they been allowed to grow up. Maybe a doctor and a history teacher, a singer and a social worker--their world..."
Carolyn Maull Mckinstry knew these girls well. They were her favorite friends to attend church and school with and to have fun with too. I wonder what their friendships would have been like as adults. Would they have chosen the same colleges? Would their children have become friends with one another? I feel sure each girl would have given some service to the community. I am sure they would have been good citizens. Because Mrs. Mckinstry loved these friends she never ever forgot them. It was as if their hearts continued to beat and strive to live in her body. She walked with them on her mind daily as a married woman and with her own children. She tells how the emotional pain became unbearable. In those days there were no Trauma counselors to come to the school. No child psychologists for little black children. This fact alone made the children more than heroes. I was also struck by the fact that Mr. Medgar Evers children saw him shot in the back as he got out of his car and walked up his driveway.
In WHILE THE WORLD WATCHED, Mrs. Mckinstry holds nothing back not even the way she dealt with living in a hate filled world where she never knew from day to day which family would be destroyed by a bomb again. In the end I can only remember the author as a strong, giving woman who didn't fail to live out the words in I Corinthians 13 Love bears all things. She writes a great deal about forgiveness. It does not happen without a lot of soul searching.
On that Sunday The big stained glass church window with Jesus Christ's face in it was blown completely out. To me it seemed as if the horror done to His sanctuary was a sight He didn't want to look upon. Thankfully in later years the stained glass window was restored by men and women who lived in Wales. The restoration proves that God will not allow hate to win against love. Again people attend the 16th Street Baptist Church singing praises to the Lord. However, after this bombing and other bombings for awhile Birmingham, Alabama became known as Bombingham, Alabama due to the mind set of people like Bull Connor and George McGovern. Also, in 1982 a memorial marker was placed for the four girls who lost their lives in 1963.
Thankfully what is awful, hateful does not remain that way. Alabama has come a long way. Even Mr. McGovern before his death had a change of heart. The author, Carolyn Maull McKinstry is able to see the sun behind the clouds. She is a woman filled with love and hope.She sees her friends in their Heavenly home. I feel proud to have read her story. I will never forget her story.carolynmckinstry(TYNDALE HOUSE PUB.)