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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Sixteenth St. Baptist Church stands as a symbol of history and hope, a story church bombing survivor Carolyn McKinstry has been telling for decades.
“Just in case we have forgotten because Americans are very quick to forget a lot of things… I’m their reminder because many of those people who were impacted or killed these things happened to including me…are not all dead”
Carolyn McKinstry survived one of the darkest moments of the civil rights movement.
“It’s really mean to mark the spot, the general location where the bomb was planted.
This solemn black marker only tells part of the story of what happened here at 16th street baptist church on September 15th 1963.
Placed in 2008…it came at least 20 years after a man asked Carolyn a troubling question:
“We really don’t understand why there is no marker there is nothing..I mean nothing…the church did nothing, the city did nothing, there was just nothing.”
There was Carolyn…who was in the church the day the bomb went off…her book “While the World Watched” tells her story. A story she would tell countless times at the church to visitors from around the world.
I would have to come out and say right here is where the bomb was placed you know i’d have to do it that way all the time.”
If these roses remind us of their deaths…the marker here on the corner of 16th street tells a bit more of their life’s journey.
Silhouettes of the backs of four girls who grew up in the shadow of hate.
11 year old Denise McNair and 14 year olds Cynthia Wesley, Carol Robertson and Addie Mae Collins deaths served as a catalyst to move past the sickness of segregation in america.
“King says it like this…the blood of the innocent is redeemable. Their deaths may serve as a way for America to move past hate and it did.”
History would show major shifts in America towards civil rights in the immediate year after the bombing.
In 1964 the civil rights act passed, and in 1965 the voting rights act passed… Of course a section of the act was recently struck down by the u.S. Supreme court..
Carolyn McKinstry looks ahead to a new honor for the victims of the bombing.