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Bending Toward Justice

The Birmingham Church Bombing That Changed the Course of Civil Rights
Narrated by: Doug Jones
Length: 15 hrs and 3 mins
Categories: History, American
5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This program is read by the author. 

On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL, was bombed, killing four young girls. It was clear that white supremacists were responsible. The community activists who gathered at the church had recently succeeded in desegregating Birmingham public schools, and this was an act of revenge.

The girls did not die in vain; the public outrage brought on by this senseless tragedy was crucial to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But who were the perpetrators? Alabamians would have to wait a long time to find out. Due to reluctant witnesses and racial prejudice, the FBI closed the case without any indictments.

But as Martin Luther King, Jr., famously claimed, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." When William Baxley became state attorney general years later, he reopened the case, ultimately convicting one of the bombers in 1977. Another suspect passed away in 1994, and author Doug Jones himself prosecuted and convicted the final two perpetrators - a correction of an outrageous miscarriage of justice that was nearly 40 years in the making.

Bending Toward Justice is a detailed account of this key moment in our national struggle for equality and the long road to prosecuting those responsible for the tragedy, related by an author who played a major role in the investigation. It is destined to become the next addition to our civil rights canon.

©2018 Doug Jones (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

“For 40 years, justice had gone undone in the brutal murder of four young girls in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.... Doug Jones said no more. Justice had to be done. Those young girls deserved it. Their families deserved it. The community needed it. It took courage, commitment, and persistence. And - maybe most of all - heart.” (Former vice president Joe Biden)

What members say

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Great piece of History

I am a native Alabamian and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I have to admit that a lot of my knowledge on the history of this event was lacking so I was very eager to fill in those gaps. I laughed, I cried, I reminisced then I beamed with pride knowing that the great state of Alabama was in very capable hands. Well worth the listen!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Bending Toward Justice should be required reading

It reads like a mystery story. It’s engrossing from the first sentence. I listen while I walk my dog and he is exhausted because I found it completely important and horrifying and I couldn’t stop listening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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May we learn not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Everyone should read this history of not only Alabama but of America as well. I have learned so many details from this book and I highly recommend it if you want to be challenged as an American and a human being. Let us all try to create a better world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating

Fascinating look back at a difficult era in Alabama’s history. Well worth a reading, especially for true crime and courtroom drama

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Well told story with the perfect ending.

Enjoyed the meticulous details explaining how the murders of four little girls, and the killing of two young boys were solved. Lots of information never revealed before, like the ways in which characters, sometimes relatives of the bombers, helped bring justice to the children killed, their family and friends, and a grieving nation. Often the book felt like a fast paced, made for television, drama that kept me on the edge of suspence.

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Ok...

I liked learning about the path to bringing those responsible for the bombing of the church to justice. Didn't care for the "memoir" ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Definitely worth reading

It's shows a relentless pursuit for justice by Doug Jones and the work of many people from all walks of life to get justice for these 4 little girls. It has this To Kill a Mockingbird feel sometimes with it's lessons on in justice in the post Jim Crow Alabama. What makes me admire Senator Jones is his tenacity when the odds are against him. I also like how he shows the good folks of Alabama who helped him in his quest for justice.

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Thank you Doug Jones

From beginning to end this sadly true tale held me with unabated interest. I was a teenager, living in Southern California at the time the bombing occurred, along with the civil rights movement. I knew it was happening then, but not until my adult years have I come to understand it’s impact on American culture. Thank you for retelling this period of history in such vivid detail. And so it goes...”The truth shall set you free. “

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A Must Read

For those of us who are the sons and daughters of Alabama, this is truly a must read. We cannot forget what is past so that we can forge a new Alabama and country. it is especially important as we begin the electoral process for 2020. it was done once and can be down again.