Tuesday, July 29, 2014

While the World Watched by Carolyn Maull McKinstry (with Denise George)

About the Book:

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.

My Thoughts:

Everyone needs to read this book.  EVERYONE.  I'm serious.  It might be one of the most important books you'll ever read.  And with history being revised at every turn, we need these eyewitness accounts preserved.

Don't get me wrong: it's a hard book to read.  "While the World Watched" gets real, and it gets gritty.  Carolyn adds direct quotes from correspondence by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  She also quotes Governor George Wallace (he's learned his lessons by now!), and others who were deeply involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

But most chilling is the opening, describing the bombing that (should have) rocked the world.  Carolyn ends with events demonstrating how far we've come and how far we have to go.

Now, here's the controversial part...I'm not saying you need to read "While the World Watched" to understand race relations in America, but you do.  I'm not saying you need to read Carolyn's memoir to fully grasp what black Americans have endured in our country in the name of segregation, but they do.

I'm encouraging you to read this book for this reason:  I am SICK and TIRED of hearing the fight for homosexual/lesbian rights/marriage compared to the Civil Rights Movement.  What happens to the LBGT community is NOTHING compared to what blacks endured, and still endure.  To me, and I know as a white woman I have no right to say this...

...every time I hear the comparison it's like a slap in the face to people like Carolyn, Rosa Parks, Dr. King Jr., Emmitt Till and so many, many others.  Yes, the LBGT community has faced discrimination.  Yes, some have died.  And yes, they are not treated "equally"...but that is NOTHING compared to what you'll read in this book.

Sorry if that makes you angry, but it's true.  And as I wipe my tears and say thank you to my friends at Tyndale House Publishers for my advance copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Please, go out and get this book and read it!  Highly recommended, and wish it was required in all school curriculums.

Happy Reading!



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