Congratulations Caroline! God blessed. I worked at Accenture with you years ago. I knew you were a woman with something important to say. The tidbits of information you shared with me about your life altering experiences during this difficult time allowed me to see through your eyes the pain, the unnessary haterd and dehumanization of a race of people. The struggle continues!!
I read this book soon after taking a college class on civil rights in the history of American education. This memoir perfectly complemented what I researched in the class and gave me a very poignant, inspiring look at civil rights issues. The author has a good storyteller's voice and her story was both moving and interesting. I liked the inclusions in the book of the MLK speeches, photos, and Jim Crow Laws. They brought more understanding to a time period I didn't experience. If you're interested in the civil rights movement or history in general, I also suggest you see the movie "The Help" and read Jennifer Valent's "Fireflies in December".
Mary Kay Beard
It is difficult to even imagine the painful events of Carolyn McKinstry's life. Author Denise George brings those events to life without reviving the vitriol the participants experienced. One of the most significant factors she reveals is the courage and endurance of Carolyn McKinstry. Her character rises from the ashes of those horrific events much like the steel cross that rose from the ashes of the 9/11 bombing in NYC. Denise George captures both the horror of man's evil and the glory of God's Amazing Grace in this book. Everyone needs to read this book to remind us of God's great redemption plan
While the World Watched is a compelling story of how the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing affected and shaped one girl and how she viewed the world. The majority of the book described the events that occurred both in the South and in Carolyn's experiences before and after the bombing. I was really moved by how racial prejudices hindered Carolyn's early life, even when she was not actually aware that they existed. I was shamed to see how cruelly whites of all ages, both male and female, treated their black neighbors, especially in the case of the children. I was shocked by the suffering and trauma inflicted on the members of the 16th Street Baptist Church by the bombing, particularly the young children like Carolyn and her brothers. And since violence was a regular occurrence for that community, Carolyn's family and her community never discussed what occurred or worked through the emotions the bombing incited. As a result, it took Carolyn years, many unhealthy choices, and finally God's hand at work before Carolyn even realized that she was bitter, depressed, and grief-stricken as a result of the bombing. I found Carolyn's redemption story to be convicting and moving, especially as she struggled to forgive those who were responsible for the bombings, something she could only do through a relationship with God.
Another aspect of While the World Watched that I found very interesting was the quotes from the Bible, JFK, Martin Luther King Jr., and other civil rights leaders of the time that were interspersed throughout the pages. They were well placed and picked to go along with the topics of the chapters, and they gave a broader and more thorough picture to what was going on at the time. I also enjoyed learning more about this particular time in the Civil Rights movement and how it transpired in Birmingham Al., especially from the firsthand perspective of Carolyn who was involved in the thick of things. However, at the same time I was saddened by the cruel and prejudiced treatment towards Carolyn and her friends that existed both when she was a child and even when she was older.
Overall, I found While the World Watched to be a very moving and compelling read that gave me a fuller picture of what happened in Birmingham, how the bombings affected those involved, and how God can redeem any situation and person.