While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement - eBook  -     By: Carolyn McKinstry, Denise George
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While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement - eBook

Tyndale House / 2011 / ePub

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Product Description

Carolyn Maull McKinstry is a survivor of the Civil Rights struggle and an eyewitness to the Sept. 15, 1963 Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing. As a teenager, she marched under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and bravely faced Bull Connor's German shepherds and stinging fire hoses during the battle for equal rights in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. While the World Watched is a personal eyewitness account of life in the South from a young girl's vantage point. Bombings, riots, assasinations, and civil rights marches were all a daily part of Carolyn's life in Alabama. As you explore this recent time in history, it's wonderful to see how far we've come and a wake-up call to how far we've yet to go.

Product Information

Format: DRM Protected ePub
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 9781414353005
ISBN-13: 9781414353005
Availability: In Stock

Author Info

Carolyn Maull McKinstry is a survivor of the civil rights struggles and an eyewitness to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. A highly sought-after speaker, Carolyn has appeared on Oprah, 20/20, CNN, and MSNBC. Portions of her story have been featured in Life magazine and USA Today. She recently completed her MDiv at Beeson Divinity School. She currently lives in Birmingham with her husband, Jerome.
Denise George is the author of 24 books, including coauthor of The Secret Holocaust Diaries. She currently lives in Birmingham with her husband, Dr. Timothy George.


In her memoir, While the World Watched, Carolyn McKinstry writes about the struggles, fears, and hopes she experienced while coming of age during the Civil Rights movement. McKinstry, who spent her childhood in Alabama, was one of the survivors of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham in 1963. Recounting the happenings before and after the bombing, she traces the events of the Civil Rights movement and the widespread effects of racism, following her journey from fear and hate to hope and forgiveness.

Carolyn McKinstry was only fourteen years old when a bomb planted by the Ku Klux Klan took the lives of her four best friends and left her with a drastically altered view of humanity. The explosion, which she missed by mere seconds, made the horror of racism a reality in her mind and planted a longing in her heart for things to be righted. Her story is one of loss and sorrow, but it is also one of recovery and forgiveness, dotted with hopeful childhood memories and moments of bravery in the face of prejudice and segregation. It also follows her adulthood struggles with depression and hate brought on by the Birmingham bombing, and the hurdles she had to face many years later. In the process of overcoming her difficulties, Carolyn holds to Matthew 22:39, learning what it means to "love your neighbor as yourself," and in forgiving those around her, she finds healing.

While the World Watched is an eye-opening book that captures the essence of life in the South during the turmoil of the 1960s. Although sometimes tragic, McKinstry's story offers a message of hope and love despite oppression and hate. The book is an excellent reminder of the wounds racism creates and the great bravery and forgiveness it takes to heal them. – Chelsea Molin, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Publisher's Weekly

The nation's collective memory of the civil rights movement depends largely on journalists and biographers who witnessed the snarling dogs and brutal racist tactics used to enforce and defend segregation in the South. In a more personal account, McKinstry, a survivor of the Ku Klux Klan bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., offers the rare perspective of both a child and an eyewitness to some of the most jarring aspects of blacks' fight for civil rights. Her tale of surviving the bombing, which killed four of her friends on September 15, 1963, vividly describes the force of water from fire hoses that left a hole in her sweater; the ominous call moments before the bomb exploded; and the clouds that formed in her mental sky when she realized that the childhood innocence her parents had relied on to shield her from racism was gone. The text of speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. and short summaries of Jim Crow laws are an educational addition to the narrative, but in boxes alongside the main narrative, they are also a visual distraction from the main text. Depending on the reader's knowledge of the racial disparities McKinstry grew up enduring, the additions will read as repetitive or informative. (Feb.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

Product Reviews

4.8 Stars Out Of 5
4.8 out of 5
4.9 out Of 5
(4.9 out of 5)
4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.8 out Of 5
(4.8 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 17
Page 1 of 4 1234 Next
  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Powerful, Personal Account
    August 21, 2014
    i blog 4 books
    While the World Watched is a moving account of one womans experience during the Civil Rights Movement. As a resident of Birmingham, AL, she was a member of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and was friends with the four girls who were tragically killed there when the church was bombed by the KKK. As she describes what life was like for her as a young black girl during this tumultuous time, she really drew me in. While its definitely an account of historical events. Mrs. McKinstry tells her story as a story. Its interesting, poignant, and kept me anxiously listening for the next chapter.

    While some have mentioned they didnt like the lengthy quotes from various speeches and writings, I felt that it gave broader context to what her personal experiences were.

    I also appreciated her focus on how her relationship with the Lord grew (and has continued to grow) in the 50 years since the bombing. While she could have easily become bitter and hardened due to her circumstances, she has allowed the Lord to change her from the inside out. I appreciated her message of love and forgivenessprobably moreso because of her circumstances.

    The main takeaway from reading (or listening to) While the World Watched was personal. After spending most of my life in the deep south, Ive always been aware of the horrible things that happened here. However, after hearing a more detailed account of that time, I realized that this is still something that we dont talk much aboutin schools, at home, or even in the community. Im ashamed to say that this is the most thorough history lesson Ive ever received on the Civil Rights Movement. Its not just embarrassing. Its downright shameful. Thank you, Mrs. McKinstry, for the courage you displayed when sharing your story. I have been enlightened and changed because of it.
  2. Raton, NM
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Compelling True Story
    August 17, 2014
    Raton, NM
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Having grown up a white child in Kentucky in the 60s, I remember much of the racial tension so prevalent during those years. I remember the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F Kennedy, and George Wallace. I remember forced desegregation of our schools and racial riots that shut down my high school for three days. However, because I was a white child, I was on the edge watching these things happen to other people.

    Carolyn Maull McKinstry, a black girl-child, was in the middle of the turmoil in Birmingham, Alabama. These things were happening to her, her family, and her friends. Four of her best friends were killed in 1963 when their church was bombed. Carolyn escaped death by just seconds and her life was never that same. She describes marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and her active involvement in the Civil Rights movement. She describes the depression which haunted her for years as a result of the hatred shown toward her and her people by so many in the South. Most importantly, however, Carolyn also tells of learning to forgive and to love others. She tells of healing in her life and in her heart brought about by the love of Jesus Christ and her desire to share that love with others.

    This book is heart wrenching, yet compelling and is a worthwhile read. It reminds us of how far we have come and yet how far we have to go.
  3. The Hot Dry Desert
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Moving and Interesting True Civil Rights Story
    August 11, 2014
    HomeSchool Mom of 4
    The Hot Dry Desert
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    I read this book soon after taking a college class on civil rights in the history of American education. This memoir perfectly complemented what I researched in the class and gave me a very poignant, inspiring look at civil rights issues. The author has a good storyteller's voice and her story was both moving and interesting. I liked the inclusions in the book of the MLK speeches, photos, and Jim Crow Laws. They brought more understanding to a time period I didn't experience. If you're interested in the civil rights movement or history in general, I also suggest you see the movie "The Help" and read Jennifer Valent's "Fireflies in December".
  4. Muscatine, IA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Not a pleasant story but important to read anyway
    August 10, 2014
    Muscatine, IA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    This is a subject that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, because we don't like to be reminded of ugly chapters in our country's history. It's easier to try to just put them behind us, a part of our history that's now long in the past. But we can't learn from history if we don't know it.

    Reading the firsthand account of Carolyn Maulls experiences growing up in Birmingham gave me a new perspective on the whole subject. I had, over the years, picked up some general knowledge about the Civil Rights Movement, but seeing it through the eyes of a child who lived through it gave it a vividness and emotional immediacy that whatever I had read previously lacked. Its one thing to read about the fact of atrocities committed decades ago. Its another to feel her anxieties as she tries to cope with the violent death of her friends.

    The book is a mix of both eyewitness account of events, particularly the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and the Childrens March, and Carolyns personal struggle to deal with grief, fear, and depression that resulted. My one criticism of the book would be that it is difficult to follow the thread of either the historical events or her personal struggles, because the story jumps about chronologically.
  5. PA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 5, 2014
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    While the World Watched tells the story of Carolyn Maull McKinstry's life growing up in Birmingham, AL. She was in the 16th street Baptist Church when a bomb went off in Sept. 1963 and had just been in the area of the Church where the bomb exploded. She was not physically injured but suffered emotional trauma when four of her friends where killed. The book tells the story of her life leading up to the bombings and after during the Civil Rights struggles in the country and the hardships and unspeakable hate that her family and friends suffered.
Displaying items 1-5 of 17
Page 1 of 4 1234 Next

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