Birmingham Civil Rights Veteran to Give MLK Day Address at Gardner-Webb

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BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.— A native of Birmingham, Ala., and a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Carolyn McKinstry, will give the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday address during the Dimensions program on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 9:25 a.m. in the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center (LYCC).  The community is encouraged to attend.

A lifelong member of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, McKinstry was present on Sept. 15, 1963, when white racists bombed the Church, killing four of her friends.  As a teenager, McKinstry attended the mass meetings and rallies at the Church, and was among the thousands of students hosed by firemen during the 1963 marches.  She survived a second bomb explosion that destroyed a large portion of her home in 1964.

Calling herself a “child of the movement,” McKinstry believes that God delivered her from those dangerous circumstances so that she could live in service to others.  She has shared her story with numerous national and international media outlets, including the History and Discovery Channels, CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Life Magazine, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

She also serves as President of the Board of Directors of the Sixteenth Street Foundation, Inc., and has served as Second Vice President and Program Committee Chair for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  McKinstry holds degrees from Fisk University, the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School.

“For several years, the Dimensions program at Gardner-Webb University has scheduled a speaker in recognition of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday,” said Dr. Tracy Jessup, vice president for Christian life and service and senior minister to Gardner-Webb.  “Carolyn McKinstry’s life has intersected with such historic moments in the Civil Rights Movement and we are honored to have her address students.”

Gardner-Webb’s Dimensions programs are free and open to the public.  The goal of Dimensions is to enhance the spiritual, intellectual, and cultural life at the University and also to promote a sense of community.  Dimensions programs are held on Tuesdays at 9:25 a.m. in the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center.  More information is available at 704-406-4277.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request ten working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-3549 to make a request.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University seeks a higher ground in higher education – one that embraces faith and intellectual freedom, balances conviction with compassion, and inspires in students a love of learning, service, and leadership.