A.P.E.X. Events Presents Carolyn McKinstry, Civil Rights Activist

Published: January 27, 2020 | Read Time: 3 minutes

Carolyn Mckinstry PostcardA.P.E.X. Events is proud to continue the spring season by sharing the life of Carolyn Maull McKinstry and her voice in the Civil Rights Movement. Join A.P.E.X. Events on Thursday, February 6 at 11:30 a.m. in the Great Hall on the campus of Southern Utah University. 

McKinstry is a survivor and eyewitness to the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing on September 15, 1963. As a teenager, McKinstry marched under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and bravely faced Bull Connor's German shepherds and stinging fire hoses during the battle for equal rights in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. In 2013, McKinstry authored While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement, an account of the bombings, riots, assignations, and the historic marches and triumphant moments of the Civil Rights movement.

“Each of us is accountable for ourselves,” wrote McKinstry in 1963 Church Bombing Survivor: The End of Hatred Starts With You. “Each of us must examine our lives and our treatment of others if we are going to have even a remote chance of living with the tremendous diversity that exists in our country. We still have not learned the simple principle of living next door to someone who may be different from us. We have not learned to treat others in the same manner that we ourselves want to be treated. We can begin changing America now, and continue one day at a time, if we have the will.”

Now, nearly fifty years after the bombing, Carolyn is still an active member of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, is the president of the Sixteenth Street Foundation, and works full time spreading her message of racial reconciliation. A highly sought-after speaker, she has appeared on Oprah, 20/20, CNN, and MSNBC, and portions of her story have been featured in Life magazine and USA Today. 

She has made numerous television and documentary appearances, including Spike Lee's documentary Four Little Girls; Soledad O'Brien's Black in America; Brian Williams's Shades of Progress, Shadows of Hate; and Family Network's We Shall Not Be Moved. 

"Carolyn’s story is incredible, and she represents both the history and the now of civil rights in our country,” said Dr. Lynn Vartan, director of A.P.E.X. Events. “She is living history and every moment of her life represents both the great light and great darkness in our past, present, and future. Her message is of love and care, born from a history of events that is so significant in our nation’s history. To hear her story from her directly is a real gift and will be truly a special moment for anyone in attendance.

McKinstry has addressed audiences in New Delhi, Mumbai, Barcelona, and the Italian Baptist Evangelical Union in Rome, as well as the Rosa Parks Museum, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and numerous colleges and universities. She recently received her Master of Divinity from Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where she currently lives with her husband, Jerome.

A.P.E.X. Events is Southern Utah University’s premier weekly lecture series, with speakers and presenters invited from all areas of the world. Attendees to our events are students, faculty, staff and community members, and the series features a diverse range of topics and disciplines. 

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