Last Thursday, as part of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights confrontations in Birmingham, there was a commemoration of the Children’s March that started 50 years ago on that day. Av was there and took these pics:
For a month, MLK had organized sit-ins and boycotts, but things didn’t really take off until the Children’s Marches began on May 2, 1963. Thousands of students were hauled off to jail and in an effort to stop the demonstrations, Bull Connor brought out the dogs and firehoses — everyone has seen that old news footage.
Over the years, Av has been to numerous events in which Caroline McKinstry spoke; she was friends with the four girls killed in the 16th Street church bombing in Sept ’63 and was just upstairs from them when the blast occurred. Apparently over the years she had claimed to be the subject of this iconic Life Magazine photo (considered fair-use as a unique historic image).
A Birmingham, Ala., minister has long said she is the woman in the picture, saying so on “Oprah,” CNN, in books, newspaper interviews and speeches across the country.
But a Detroit woman, Mamie Chalmers, recently contacted The Detroit News to say she is the person in the photo. Three people who participated in the demonstration where the picture was taken support her contention.
Confronted by The News with this information Sunday, the minister, Carolyn McKinstry, 65, backed off her claim.
“That’s a misidentification,” she said during a phone call. “I don’t know who’s in the photo but it’s not me.”
Asked why she had repeatedly said otherwise, McKinstry hung up.
For Chalmers, 71, who has been challenging McKinstry’s assertion for 16 years, the retraction was sweet vindication.