Composer uses oral history to pay tribute in Birmingham bombing anniversary

From the AP:

Seeking inspiration for a musical commission to mark the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, composer Yotam Haber turned to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute’s Oral History Project. Combing through the files in the Alabama city, he came across a 1998 interview with Henrietta Tripp.

He was struck by the former hairdresser’s description of hearing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. speak at the church in the spring of 1963, several months before the horrible blast.

“That was hallelujah time,” she told the interviewer. “And he was talking about Birmingham being one of the hardest cities to crack. It was the hardest city to crack.”

When a chorus of 100 voices performs Haber’s piece later this month, Tripp’s words will soar along with those of King and others – famous and unsung – who fought to defeat Jim Crow.

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