In 1963, the steel town of Birmingham, Alabama found itself in the glare of the national spotlight. Sheriff Bull Connor turned fire hoses and police dogs on peaceful civil rights demonstrators, many of them children and teenagers, and became a symbol of segregationist defiance.
Then in September, members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing four little girls who were getting ready for a service. Their deaths galvanized the civil rights movement and forced the people of Birmingham—including a teenaged Sena Jeter Naslund—to confront the deep divisions within their city.
Naslund, an aspiring writer, promised herself that she would someday revisit that painful time in a book. The result is Four Spirits, a wide-ranging novel that tells the story from many perspectives, in which both historical and fictional characters, black and white, awaken to the cruel realities of violence and the redeeming power of love, friendship, and courage.
Card catalog entry from the Library of Congress
Blurbs from the book cover
Amazon.com information page
Barnes and Noble information page
In the Memory of Four Little Girls—a site about the church bombing and its aftermath, with links to more information
More information on the bombing, including Martin Luther King’s eulogy for the young girls