Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday


Carolyn McKinstry, civil rights advocate and lifelong member of 16th Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., will de­liver the keynote address at the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Birthday Celebration in Hayward on Jan. 21, 2019.

A witness to the Ku Klux Klan bombing on Sept. 15, 1963, McKinstry will bring to Hayward the rare perspective of being both a child of and an eyewitness to some of the most jarring aspects of the fight for civil rights by African Ameri­cans, a distinction noted by Publishers Weekly in a review of McKinstry’s 2011 memoir, “While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survi­vor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement.”

McKinstry was among thousands of students hosed by firemen during the 1963 civil rights marches and survived a second bomb explosion that destroyed a large portion of her home in 1964. Decades later, she was a subpoenaed witness in the 2002 trial of Bob Cher­ry, who was one of three men subsequently convicted of the 1963 church bombing.

McKinstry is a native of Bir­mingham and was educated in its public schools. She is a graduate of Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., and has received a Master of Divin­ity degree from Samford Uni­versity’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala.

In addition to her keynote ad­dress, the King Birthday Cel­ebration event, held annually on the Martin Lu­ther King federal holiday, will feature presenta­tion of an annual Community Award and performances by the Mount Eden High School Choir. It takes place starting at 4:30 p.m. at Reed L. Buffing­ton Performing Arts Center, Chabot College, 25555 Hes­perian Blvd., in Hayward.

The event is free and tickets are available on Eventbrite.


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