1963 church bombing survivor shares her story of forgiveness

News Connection

Sarah Collins Rudolph is the sole survivor of the attack that killed 4 girls, including her sister

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The San Angelo NAACP is celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a program at The RiverView Restaurant Friday evening. The local chapter is hosting Sarah Collins Rudolph, who survived a bombing by the Ku Klux Klan in 1963.

“I was the survivor. They called me ‘The Fifth Little Girl,'” said Sarah Collins Rudolph.

On September 15th, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan.

Sarah Collins Rudolph is the sole survivor of the attack that killed 4 girls, including her sister. She was just 12 years old at the time of the attack where she lost an eye. More than fifty years later, she wrote the book “The Fifth Little Girl” to tell her testimony.

“I went through a test. Without a test, you don’t have a testimony. It just explains what I went through and how God delivered me. At the age of twelve, that bomb really messed me up. Really,” explained Collins Rudolph.

According to Collins Rudolph, after many years she forgave those who took her loved ones from her.

This Friday, to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Collins Rudolph is joining the San Angelo NAACP in spreading his message of forgiveness during their program, “Celebrating a King and a National Treasure.”

“I was angry for what they did to those four little girls and how they injured me. I just had to let it go. When I let it go, I began to heal,” continued Collins Rudolph.

“Having Mrs. Collins Rudolph with us is a glimpse at that past and allowing us to move forward with forgiveness in our hearts,” said Sherley Spears, President of the San Angelo NAACP.

According to Spears, Collins Rudolph’s story serves as a reminder of the trials the African-American community has had to face.

“A lot of our African-American history from across the country and across the world has not been shared here with the African-American community or the greater community, As a part of African-American history, this is not a production, This is an actual story. She lived this,” added Spears.

Sarah Collins Rudolph’s book will be available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon in February.

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