Eyewitness to History

I love hearing from readers! Last week I got an interesting email from a woman named Muriel who lived in Alabama in the 1960s. With Muriel’s permission, I’m sharing her letter:

Dear Shana,

I wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoyed your book. I found it
on the library shelf while waiting for my two precious granddaughters to
find books to read this past summer.

I was drawn to the book because we lived in Birmingham, Alabama while my husband was at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, College of Medicine for 5 years. We lived there from 1960 to 1965 during the civil rights movement.

We were in our church that dreadful Sunday morning when the 4 little
girls were killed in the bombing. We were one block away when that bomb
exploded. It rattled our church windows and caused fear in all of our
hearts. I gave birth to our second child on October 6th, 1963, 3 weeks
after the bombing. Six weeks later our president, John F. Kennedy was
assassinated. It was a very sad time in the history of our country!

I lived in New Jersey till I married so was not familiar with the laws
and rules of the South. I went to school with many African American
friends and thought nothing about it till I moved to Alabama and saw how
different things were there.

Thanks again for telling us about the “other side” of the story and
letting us have a taste of what they went through during those very
difficult years.



Posted in Civil Rights, Educators, Shana's Posts on 09/29/2009 07:56 am


  1. Rachel Belin

    Muriel’s letter is a poignant reminder that seemingly ordinary people can carry such amazing stories. And while she herself may think she was just experiencing history, by writing it down and sharing it with others, in fact she is shaping it.

  2. I wonder if she was in a better position to recognize what was wrong because she was such an outsider. I’d be interested in knowing whether her Southern friends were as shaken up as she was by what what was happening.

  3. No, I don’t think my Southern friends were as upset as I was over many of the things that happened in the 60’s. They had lived a completely different life style in the South than I did in the North. I did not condemn them,however,for how they felt, because they had seen and lived through things so differently than I did. They were very saddened by what happened at the church bombing, as we all were.

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