KKK church bombing survivor speaks at Hope College

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A survivor of the deadly Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing says her memory of the Ku Klux Klan attack nearly 55 years ago is still fresh.

However, Rev. Carolyn Maull McKinstry focused on hope and reconciliation as she spoke to a crowd at Hope College Monday night on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Dr. McKinstry was 14 years old and working as a secretary when three KKK members bombed the Birmingham, Alabama church on Sept. 15, 1963.

“When I answered the phone, the caller said, ‘Three minutes.’ And as quickly as they said that, they hung up,” McKinstry recounted. “When the bomb exploded, you know, glass came crashing in and there were screams and someone said, ‘Hit the floor.’”

Four girls died in the blast and more than 20 others were injured.

Later that day, two African-American teenage boys also died in riots.

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