Carolyn McKinstry

Forgiveness is a word often associated with faith.

A woman who survived the bombing of the 16th street Baptist church says... forgiveness is what helped change her life for the better.

Carolyn Mckinstry survived the bombing in September 1963. She recounts what happened on that horrible day.

She says, "I collected everything downstairs and walked toward the bathroom... you had to pass the bathroom to go upstairs... when I passed the bathroom I stopped and said good morning."

Carolyn Mckinstry was friends with the girls who died in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.

Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise Mcnair.


Carolyn McKinstry. "The church clerk told me someone was calling saying mean things on the phone... things but they didn't tell the children. They did not let us know they had received bomb threats."

Moments after Carolyn climbed the stairs the blast tore through their beloved church... changing history.... and changing the civil rights movement... it was invigorated from that moment on...

and that bomb and another... months later.... changed Carolyn as well.

Carolyn: "An awful day 6 months after that they bombed the house across the street from where my mom is right now."

It destroyed most of the houses on that street at 3am.

Carolyn: " That was the day that it started I was in a strange place spiritually and mentally after the bombing of the church but after the bombing near my house... that pain arrived and wouldn't go away."

She says she tried for a long time to erase the pain.

Carolyn. "I started drinking when I was in school I learned that sort of blotted it out. Then I realized it didn't blot it out forever."

She says her faith, God and forgiveness turned her life around.

Carolyn: "it took me a long time to realize that but once I did the forgiveness was more for me... it allowed me to ... I forgive everybody everything right now today.

She's worked many years.... to spread a message of love instead of hate.

Carolyn: " I want us to replace the hate with love. This is what Dr. King was describing when he talked about the beloved community ... I think we can get there we just have to want to get there."