New monument honoring Foot Soldiers


It's a picture of the movement thatdefined the City of Birmingham. A new monument will soon representthe foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement - unsung heroes whoseefforts helped lead our state and nation.

In just a year's time, a new monumentwill sit in Kelly Ingram Park. A design competition will chooseexactly how Foot Soldiers will be portrayed. It will sit adjacent tothe 16th Street Baptist Church - a place that played akey role in the Movement.

"A foot soldier means one who wasactually involved in trying to change the mentality of this city,"Bishop Calvin Woods, A Civil Rights Leader said.

Their names weren't in headlines, noawards or honors to their name, but their dedication led a nation.

"The ones who often times wentnameless, the ones who often times bore the brunt of the fire hosesand the dogs and we felt it was important to find a way to recognizethe contributions that those individuals made," Mayor William Bell,Birmingham said.

One of those soldiers, is CarolynMckinstry, who as a child, survived the bombing of 16thStreet Baptist Church.

"I passed the girls, went upstairs,reached the top of the stairs, answered the phone, stepped out intothe sanctuary and that's when the bomb exploded," McKinstry said."I was 15. It began to look like they were out to kill as manypeople of color as they could."

Four of her friends died that day, butCivil Rights leaders tell us, it was that moment that sparked a newpassion in the Movement. And in this year of it's 50thanniversary, she hopes Dr. King's dream will come to the forefront.

"What would really be wonderful forthis 50th year is if we could celebrate that all of thosethings don't happen anymore," McKinstry said. "That we don't havebombings anymore, that we've replaced hatred with love."

"Now they know that the struggle thatthey engaged in, the blows and the brutality that they endured wasnot in vain," Shirley Gavin Floyd, Civil Rights Activist committeesaid.

The monument will be made out of steel.This is a national competition and the winner will be chosen thisFall. The monument is set to be built in 2014. {}