While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement by Carolyn Maul McKimstry
Y'all know I am a sucker for a memoir, and this one is no exception. Carolyn was 15 when her church was bombed and 3 of her friends, one being her best friend, was killed. She talks about that event, what it did to her, what 1963 did to her, and what she's done with her life because of what she experienced at such a young age.
Let me begin, what a beautiful lesson on forgiveness from a woman who received so little mercy so early in her life! "I know all of us are capable of evil, but I also believe that as people made in God's image, there is also good in all of us. Surely we must become intentional in looking for that good."
Other than the wonderful message this woman had to share, I also loved the format. While she referenced the 16th Street Church bombing often, most of the book was really about her general experiences as the country was transformed into a much less segregated place. I imagine it read like if she were recounting the story of her youth/life on my couch. She would reference an event, then quote a civil rights leader, then talk about that person's life and the impact it had on her, then go back to the event. It sounds confusing but it really flowed very nicely.
One thing I didn't understand before reading this book and I'd never really considered is that even if they made it out of the civil right's era alive, African Americans experienced some wicked-crazy survivor's guilt, and there were zero resources to help them cope with these feelings and avoid falling into depression. What a small thing, having access to mental-health services, and I take it for granted everyday. Carolyn talks about all that, and I didn't see that coming.
I'd absolutely recommend this book, and I think it's going on my "To Buy" list because of all the great quotes from civil rights leaders as well as the beautiful message of love, acceptance and forgiveness. Obviously, this book gets
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