posted December 8, 2010

Luncheon to Feature Survivor of 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing

Carolyn Maull McKinstry, a survivor of the September 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., will present the keynote address "Amazing Grace" during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon at Hope College on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 11:30 a.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.

The campus community is invited.  Admission is free, but advance registration by Monday, Dec. 13, is requested.

McKinstry was 14 years old when the racially motivated bombing of the church took place during the morning of Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963.  The bomb killed four girls, friends of hers, and injured more than 20 other members of the congregation.  She escaped injury only because she had just moments previously left the area that bore the brunt of the blast.

A life-long member of the church, she is currently president of the Board of Directors of the Sixteenth Street Foundation Inc., whose mission is the ongoing maintenance of the historic building.  She was previously the SR program manager for the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative, and has held management positions with Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company, BellSouth Telecommunications and Andersen Consulting.  She is active with numerous volunteer activities and organizations, and spends much of her time traveling and talking with young people about her experiences of the 1960s, making them relevant to today's environment.  She graduated from Fisk University with a bachelor's degree in economics, and from Samford University's Beeson Divinity School with an M.Div.

The luncheon is co-sponsored by the college's Office of Multicultural Education and Black Student Union, and Herman Miller Inc.  Reservations may be made by calling the Office of Multicultural Education, located in the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication, at (616) 395-7867 during weekday business hours.

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street.