Dear Ms. Norris:
I just finished reading your book and it brought a flood of memories from my stay in Birmingham from 1959
to 1965. My father was born in Birmingham. He was one of nine children. During my stay in Birmingham,
I went to Center Street Elementary school, which was in walking distance from my grandmother’s home. I
also attended Brunetta C. Hill school where my aunt was the school secretary. I spent three years at Parker High School, where my father and all of his siblings attended. I remember Carole Robertson who was our class secretary (Class 10L) and our
home room teacher was J.C. McNair. The day after the bombing was especially disheartening. We had no supportive counseling or therapy and each of us had to find our way through our own shell shock. I was unable to cry about that time until at least
30 years later. My father was a pivotal person in the struggle. He, along with a group of ministers documented cases of police brutality and sent it out to elected officials throughout the nation and beyond our borders. I was especially pleased to
read the description of your grandfather. He sounded so much like mine. In describing your father, I saw my own father in some ways. It took him a while to open about some of the challenges that he faced, though we got a real picture of what people faced through reading of the documents and actually meeting some the persons who had been victims. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It brought a special clarity to my experience in “The Magic City” of “Bombingham”.
-Claude H. Oliver II
Michele Norris is the host of NPR’s All Things Considered and the author of The Grace of Silence.