By Larry Dane Brimner
When I begin the book, I push the recliner back as far as it can go because I know I’m going to need comfort.
In the beginning I find out that Addie Mae and her sisters tossed their sister Janie’s purse to each other while walking to the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.
Just when I’m caught up in what went on in the bathroom and wondering how Brimner found out Denise asked Addie Mae to retie her bow (I have since heard one of the people who was in the church retell the story of seeing the girls in the bathroom as she exited.)—and Sarah? (Brimner also spells it without the “h” on occasion) (How did I miss Sarah? Where have I been?), Brimner cuts to a history lesson that begins with the founding of the NAACP, Brown v. Board of Education, the Montgomery Boycott, and Autherine Lucy’s suspension from the University of Alabama and takes us all the way up to 1963.
This is fine Brimner, I think, but what about Denise, Addie Mae, Carole, Sarah, and Cynthia—let’s get back to them. Of course when he does, I am not prepared. Now I’m too busy thinking about Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth’s story. I’d like to write a book for children about him.
Did you know about the two boys who were killed on Birmingham Sunday? Johnny Brown Robinson and Virgil Ware. I didn’t.
There are some disturbing black-and-white photos (e.g., Sarah Collins after the bombing, a burning bus, and Rev. Shuttlesworth’s bombed home, just to name a few that brought tears to my eyes).
The title doesn’t prepare you for the history lesson you’re going to get if you read this book. I think you should read it, and once you’re done, pick up Carole Boston Weatherford’s Birmingham, 1963.
Note: Someone from Calkins Creek sent Birmingham Sunday