“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King Jr.” – Carolyn Maull McKinstry, While the World Watched
I purposely picked a history audiobook this time, again just to move it out of my audiobook file. This time, it was a true account of Ms. Carolyn Maull McKinstry’s life and how the Birmingham bombing effected her.
September 15, 1963 was a day that forever changed Ms. McKinstry’s life: she survived the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama by mere feet. She had just exited the girls’ restroom, where the bomb was planted by the Klu Klux Klan, when the bomb exploded, killing 4 of her friends. As a 14 year old, she became a war survivor.
It was interesting to hear her life pre- and post-bombing. I was able to picture her as a child, at church, at home, integration laws, etc. I thought back to stories my mom and grandparents have told me about integration. I was able to imagine her suffering and depression, her struggles as an adult, by taking what I’ve experienced and multiplying it. I thought of 9-11 as she described the bombing and the chaos. I just can’t fully comprehend and imagine what she went through first hand, but I tried to put it in perspectives I could identify with.
I’m not a history buff, as I’ve stated multiple times, but I appreciate the book for it’s value and what it represents. I found it to be interesting and thought-provoking, which immediately means it’s a book worth one’s time. It was a honest, real account of her life, not a history lesson gone over in 90 minutes and now you’re going to be tested on it.
She is a marvelous woman who survived hell and can tell you about it. She is living history worth reading about and listening to. If I ever make it to Birmingham, Alabama, I hope I can visit the museum and see the church first hand to add more to this story.
Any history book that gets me thinking about history and politics is worth your time. Ms. McKinstry’s story is a real treasure to add to your reading list.
While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement by Carolyn Maull McKinstry
Narrator: Felicia Bullock
Contributor: Denise George
Format: MP3 Audiobook
Publisher: Oasis Audio
Source: Audiobook Sync
7 parts, 23 chapters + epilogue + introduction
7 hours, 53 minutes, 23 seconds