Dear Denise: Letters to the Sister I Never Knew


Product Details

$19.95  $18.55
University Alabama Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 8.1 X 1.0 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Lisa McNair is a Birmingham native and the oldest living sister of Denise McNair, one of the four girls killed in the infamous 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. Lisa is a renowned national public speaker on the topic of racial reconciliation and also leads antiracism workshops. Visit for more information.


"In 1997 I Directed My 1st Documentary 4 Little Girls. It Tells The Story Of The Beautiful Young Black Girls Who Were Murdered In A Domestic Terrorist Bombing Of The 16th Street Baptist Church In Birmingham, Alabama. During And After The Production I Became Friends With The Parents Of Denise McNair. One Of The 4 Little Girls That Was Murdered. Through My Friendship With Maxine And Chris McNair, I Met Lisa McNair The Younger Sister Of Denise. This Book Is The Riveting Story Of Her Life, Her Parents And Sister During The Volatile Of The Jim Crow South, And The Capital Of That BOMB-MING-HAM. Lisa Takes Us On A Stirring Trip Of Stirring Moments Of HIS/HERSTORY In These Un-United States."
--Spike Lee

"Lisa McNair's letters to her sister come from her heart. They are about growing up not having met Denise, who was murdered by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Denise and three other young girls were taken in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church, a sacred space, in a dynamite explosion set by the hands of local white Alabama terrorists. Lisa tells her story of searching for meaning in America, which has a history drenched in the blood of white supremacy over 400 years and continuing to this day. Lisa McNair's book is a must read for all Americans."
--David Goodman, the Andrew Goodman Foundation

"Lisa bares her heart and soul about growing up with love and admiration in the light, not the shadow, of her sister Denise, whose young life was taken from her family by hate through the 1963 bombing of Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. What an extraordinary expression of love and developmental bond to a sister who she never had the pleasure of meeting. She speaks truth to power, bridging the past and present and exploring her inner strength to combat racism from all members of society."
--Reena Evers-Everette, executive director of the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Institute

"In Dear Denise, Lisa McNair takes the reader on a journey that at some point in our lives we all wish we could have: a conversation with a family member we never knew. In writing her letters to a sister who died in what should have been a safe place--her church--at the hands of white supremacists, Lisa in actuality has a conversation with Denise, walking the reader through the history of Birmingham and America, and her family, while continuing to seek the truths about our past and the direction for our future. It is conversations like these that will help us form that more perfect union we know as America."
--Senator Doug Jones, author of Bending Toward Justice: The Birmingham Church Bombing that Changed the Course of Civil Rights