In the light of recent events in the US my thoughts have turned to my sabbatical study on 'Slavery, Civil Rights and Black Christians in the southern United States' and my visit to those statesL
In Birmingham, Alabama where we enjoyed the warm hospitality of a local Christian family, our first stop was the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, a wonderful museum telling the whole story of the civil rights movement in a very clear and compelling way.
Across the road from the Institute is the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the scene of one of the great tragedies in the struggle for civil rights, when on Sunday 15th September 1963 white racists exploded a bomb beneath the front steps of the church which killed four young girls and injured 22 others.
With wonderful hospitality we were welcomed and showed around the building of this church which is still a very live and thriving community. There are many mementos of the four girls including in the main sanctuary and in this line drawing displayed in the church basement (left).
Across the road from the church and the Civil Rights movement there is a further memorial of those terrible events of September 1963 in a sculpture that bears the words: 'A Love That Forgives:'