While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement
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On September 15, 1963, a Klan-planted bomb went off in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Fourteen-year-old Carolyn Maull was just a few feet away when the bomb exploded, killing four of her friends in the girl’s restroom she had just exited. It was one of the seminal moments in the Civil Rights movement, a sad day in American history . . . and the turning point in a young girl’s life.
While the World Watched is a poignant and gripping eyewitness account of life in the Jim Crow South: from the bombings, riots, and assassinations to the historic marches and triumphs that characterized the Civil Rights movement.
A uniquely moving exploration of how racial relations have evolved over the past 5 decades, While the World Watched is an incredible testament to how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go.
upon his congregation with kind, loving eyes. But as a remembrance of that morning, the reverend and his deacons decided to leave two damaged things in the church untouched and unrepaired. One was the antique clock on the sanctuary wall. In the midst of the bombing, the old timepiece stayed attached to the wall, its glass case intact and undisturbed. But for some reason its faithful tick and accurate hands stopped dead at the exact moment of the blast—10:22. Nearly five decades later, the
each race, within its own framework has the freedom to teach . . . to instruct . . . to develop . . . to ask for and receive deserved help from others of separate racial stations. This is the great freedom of our American founding fathers . . . but if we amalgamate into the one unit as advocated by the communist philosophers . . . then the enrichment of our lives . . . the freedom for our development . . . is gone forever. We become, therefore, a mongrel unit of one under a single all powerful
at the mirror in the basement restroom. I loved Cynthia and her family. She had a great sense of humor, made jokes, and laughed all the time. Her father, Claude Wesley, had been my principal at Finley Avenue Elementary School. That day the Reverend had asked Cynthia to be an usher. She stood at the mirror adjusting the handmade dress that perfectly hugged her tiny waist. The Wesleys were professional people, prim and proper, but not in a stuck-up way. I think Mrs. Wesley had had throat cancer
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/10/us/10morgan.html?_r=1.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s funeral eulogy, Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, September 18, 1963, http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_eulogy_for_the_martyred_children.  Ibid.  Ibid.  George McMillan, “The Birmingham Church Bomber,” Saturday Evening Post, June 6, 1964, 14–17.  Dr. Martin Luther King’s funeral eulogy, Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, September 18, 1963,
1948. I was born in my grandfather’s house in Clanton, Alabama, a city about sixty miles south of North Birmingham. Most black babies were born at home in those days—rarely in hospitals. Daddy often bragged that he helped deliver me. Although he never told me specifically what his role was, I suspect he probably assisted by boiling water and supplying fresh towels. No doubt he also was my mother’s encourager. My parents moved to Birmingham when I was two years old, and there I came face-to-face