In September 1963, in Llansteffan, Wales, a stained-glass artist named John Petts was listening to the radio when he heard the news that four black girls had been murdered in a bombing while at Sunday school at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The news moved Petts, who was white and British, deeply. “Naturally, as a father, I was horrified by the death of the children,” said Petts, in a recording archived by London’s Imperial War Museum. “As a craftsman in a meticulous craft, I was horrified by the smashing of all those [stained-glass] windows. And I thought to myself, my word, what can we do about this?” Petts decided to employ his skills as an artist in an act of solidarity. “An idea doesn’t exist unless you do something about it,” he said. “Thought has no real living meaning unless it’s followed by action of some kind.” With the help of the editor of Wales’s leading newspaper, the Western Mail, he launched an appeal for funds to replace the Alabama church’s stained-glass window. “I’m going to ask no one to give more than half a crown,” he told Petts. “We don’t want some rich man as a… Read full this story
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