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Friday Confessional for 9/27/13 and a Giveaway

Friday, September 27, 2013

Good evening!  Welcome to Friday Confessional.  Thanks to Sweet Aubrey @ High-Heeled Love for hosting!

I confess...

I confess that I was blessed last Monday to hear Carolyn Maull McKinstry speak at a church luncheon. She is a very accomplished woman, and given her busy schedule because she is very much in demand, we were lucky that she made the time to join us and share her story with us.

Carolyn primarily spoke about her book she published a couple of years ago entitled While the World Watched.  Carolyn survived the 1953 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church here in Birmingham.  Her book has gotten even more attention this year as it's the fiftieth anniversary of that horrible day.

I was completely engrossed as Carolyn told about the events that day.  It was Youth Day at the church. I also grew-up Baptist, and Youth Day is a really big deal in the Baptist church.  All the young people were wearing their white shirts and dresses.  Youth would be singing in the services, teaching Sunday School classes, and taking-up the offering.  Carolyn was the church secretary for the day, and she recorded the Sunday School statistics for that day.  She had just passed by the girls' bathroom and saw the girls before she went upstairs to the church office to complete her duties.  She answered the phone right before the bomb exploded that was a threat:  "Three minutes!"  Well, it was more like fifteen seconds when the bomb went off killing four little girls. Ironically, the title of the Sunday School lesson for that day was "A Love That Forgives."

The Four Spirits Memorial in Kelley Ingram Park with the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in the background

Carolyn McKinstry was the chair for The Four Spirits Memorial Project.  The sculpture by Birmingham native Elizabeth MacQueen memorializes  Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins, each of whom was 14 years old, and Denise McNair, who was 11.

I cannot imagine anything more frightening than this.  Historically churches have always been a safe-haven:  There's a reason that the nave of the church is often called the sanctuary.  I cannot imagine going to church with my high school friends and enduring a bombing and the deaths of my friends. I cannot imagine being able to forgive the men responsible for it.  But Carolyn forgave them.

I confess that Carolyn McKinstry humbles me.

While the World Watched is a very important, well-written book.  I enjoyed reading about the Civil Rights Movement from Carolyn's perspective.  She marched with Dr. King and others.  She lived history!  It was difficult reading about the arrests of the students, the Jim Crow Laws, and the sadness the community suffered through violence.  The book also includes excerpts from many famous civil rights speeches and photos of Carolyn, her family, and scenes from the civil rights struggle.

And now, on to the giveaway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But I'm not finished with my confessions yet.  This is the front page of The Birmingham News on September 19, 2013:

I know that the University of Alabama story has received national attention, but the situation here in Hoover, Alabama hasn't received as much press, and it's a far bigger issue in my honest opinion.

Basically, Hoover City Schools has decided to suspend bus services for the 2014-2015 school year.

Here is a quote from Hoover City School Board President Paulette Pearson from a recent school board meeting:

"There is no other system like ours that will bus you, that will get you to school and back," she said. "I'm talking in Birmingham, Alabama. There is not another Over-the-Mountain school that will do what we do." 

"We make it easy because we have some housing in our area that's pretty affordable," she said. "People can take advantage of that. And they move in."

Who is they? Do you really have to ask?

I confess... 

I confess that I commend parents who work hard to move to a better school district so their children can receive a better education.

I confess...

I confess that I'm embarrassed to live in Hoover.  

Disclaimer:  We chose not to send our daughters to the local high school. The oldest attended a diverse fine arts school, and the youngest attends a private school that is also diverse. However, we're still taxpayers in this community!

NPR has already covered this story. Where is CNN???  Fox News??? ABC???    :/

Birmingham has come far, but apparently one of her suburbs needs a refresher course in discrimination. 

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. I just went and googled the issue. I have to confess that I'm appalled too. That's twice now that you have had me just shocked at the Alabama school system (the other was the reading goals based on income and race). Not that ours is perfect, but we still have busing.

    You always do such interesting "I confess" posts. I confess that I look forward to reading them every week.

  2. Just when you think we have come past these things, it happens in another way. sigh

  3. I don't even know what to say. It's amazing that she can even speak that way at all in this day and age.

  4. Wow, I haven't heard about that. We live in the shadows of Dallas though and there are so many problems with the schools that there isn't time left on the news to talk about anybody else. I just read the article that you posted and it is interesting. I really don't see how the school district can get away with suspending school bus service for many reasons. That's the only way many students can get there. However, your district is tiny and I'm sure finances are a serious issue. You'll have to keep us posted.

    About the sororities - they aren't integrated yet? That's shocking too! y My brain doesn't think in terms of segregation at all.

  5. WHAT????? I am so shocked!!! This crap is still happening? I thought we as a nation have moved forward and desegregated.

    Very moving about Carolyn Maul Mckinstry. I agree it is very sad to think anyone could do that but to a church is worse. I love how they made a memorial for the girls. It's only fitting.

  6. I've read, The Night Sky by Maria Sutton and Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush...both excellent!

  7. I confess that this blog post gave me goosebumps. I also confess that I wish I could do so much more from my little world in Georgia. There's SO much to be done in this country - and I feel like I'm not dong enough. I guess all I can do is continue to raise my girls with a diverse look on life! This look looks moving - just thinking about it gives me the chills. <3

  8. I am trying desperately to remember what memoir I've read .. and I cannot. I'll think about it and get back to you!

  9. Fatherhood by Bill Cosby - that's one, right? I read that periodically - I keep it by my bedside for a good laugh. :)

  10. It's kinda a memoir - Raising My Rainbow. I am currently reading Funny Misshaped Body which is definitely a memoir.

  11. Bussing was cut in my (very poor, primarily Hispanic) school district when I was in elementary school (because of finances). And people were not happy. But my school district didn't focus on any socioeconomic racial issue, defending its actions by making discriminatory remarks. This is just...ridiculous. I'm glad Birmingham is starting to catch up, politically, but I'm sorry you have to deal with this. And I hope it's incentive for parents to band together for a better charter school, or grant-funded private school, or something.

    Also, with regard to the church bombing....a friend once told me (I'm paraphrasing here) that it's our belief that makes a place sacred, not walls and a roof. Therefore, any building can be destroyed, but the ground will still be holy, beloved, and a place of remembrance. We seek shelter not from the walls of a church, but from the hearts of its congregation.
    (and thus those girls live on in memory, and the community grew stronger, and it's good that motivation has come from that incident, horrible as it is). Not to make light of it, just....sometimes the people grow stronger from that sort of thing.

  12. For all of the non news crap I see clips of from fox and cnn, I can't believe this isn't there!

  13. RJ,
    I'm always saddened to hear that there are people in the nation that still have fear and hatred in their hearts. Education is so vital to our future...equal education for all. Thank you for sharing this...I will check the book out from our library.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  14. I bet it must have been amazing to hear McKinstry speak. Thanks for the giveaway; whether I win or not, I'll be adding her book to my to-read list.

    I cannot imagine a school district cutting school busses for any reason. Wow.

    Thanks for joining the Friday Confessional party.

  15. I'm sure when I've last read a memoir, but I'm reading "Animal, Vegetable Miracle" right now, and it's based on real life =)

  16. It is interesting how schools are run across the country. Our cities do not fund the schools, everything comes from the state. Transportation is one of the few things that is not mandated, but most districts do provide it.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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