2013 Unity Breakfast Keynote Speaker
Carolyn is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. She was present on September 15, 1963 at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, when white racists bombed the Church. Carolyn’s four young friends were killed. As a teenager, Carolyn felt her “calling” by attending the mass meetings and rallies at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. She was among thousands of students hosed by firemen during the 1963 marches. She survived a second bomb explosion that destroyed a large portion of her home in 1964. An “authentic child of the movement”, Carolyn believes that God spared her life on September 15th, 1963, so that she could continue to live in service to others. She is now a citizen of the world, and an ordained itinerant messenger of the gospel.
She was educated in the public schools of Birmingham. She is a graduate of Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee, has done graduate studies at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and received a Master of Divinity Degree from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. She is currently an associate minister at Trinity Baptist Church. She has held management positions with Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company, Andersen Consulting and is a retiree of BellSouth Telecommunications.
Carolyn has recently authored a book (memoir) entitled “While The World Watched” that is available through Tyndale Publishers as of February 2011. The book details her life growing up in Birmingham, as well as “lessons learned” from her experiences and involvement in the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement of the sixties. The book has been featured on C-SPAN 2 and serves as a tool for Carolyn’s ongoing national and international travel and work in the Ministry of Reconciliation and Forgiveness.
Carolyn McKinstry served for ten years as President of the Board of Directors of the Sixteenth Street Foundation, Inc. whose mission was the ongoing maintenance of the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church facility. In 2004, Carolyn along with Co- Chair Neal Berte – retired President and Chancellor of Birmingham Southern College, successfully launched and completed a $3.8 million stabilization campaign. Professionally she served as the SR Program Manager for the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI), a Ford and Casey funded initiative. The SRBWI initiative spanned the boundaries of three states: the black belt in Alabama, Southwest Georgia and the Mississippi Delta. The mission of the initiative still is the attainment of economic and social justice (utilizing a Human Rights framework) for rural women through individual and collective empowerment and capacity building, public policy and advocacy training and educational development and technical assistance.
Her passion is Community service. She has served as Second Vice President and Program Committee Chair for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for the last six years. In addition to numerous other volunteer activities and organizations, she has served as the sole female Chair of the Board of Trustees for Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, past President of the Hospice Foundation of Jefferson County, and past Vice President and Director of Programs for The Academy of Fine Arts, Inc. She also serves on the Boards of The Birmingham Pledge Foundation, Alabama Poverty Project, The Dorothy Cotton Institute, March of Dimes Foundation, Greater Birmingham Ministries, Samford University Board of Overseers, Samford University inaugural member of the Beeson Divinity School Advisory Board, and is an alumni of Leadership Birmingham and Leadership Alabama. She served on the Scholarship Committee for the “Four Girls” administered by the Birmingham News. Recently, (July, 2011) she was selected to serve on the Governor’s special three year Alabama Constitutional Revision Commission. She spends much of her time lecturing with young people, public and private educators and institutions about her experiences of the sixties, making them relevant to today’s environment.
*More information about Carolyn McKinstry can be found at www.carolynmckinstry.com
of Washington Tacoma
Last update: 1/17/13