"I had to get saved," says Sarah, 62, who finished high school, spent years casting metal in a foundry and now is a housekeeper. "The only thing that helped me was getting closer to God," which she did in 1986.
She had two failed marriages and wasn't able to have children.
"Mama said I was never going to have kids," she says, "because I still have glass in my stomach."
On her birthday in 2000, she married George Rudolph, a man she had gone to high school with years before. He still cries when he hears her testimony.
The coffee table in their living room is littered with memorabilia. Articles from over the years, some yellowed, sit in a pile. Books about the civil rights era are in balanced stacks. She opens one to show an old black-and-white photograph of herself in a hospital bed, the bandages still covering her eyes. Amid these historical footnotes are certificates of appreciation, a key to a city, a silver cup from a university -- all meant to honor who she is.
These things, though, are mere tokens. No matter the happiness she's found with George and the salvation she found in the Lord, at times Sarah still simmers.
She's moved through life feeling forgotten. She testified at all three murder trials, but objects to the fact that there was never a trial for the attempted murder of her.
Doug Jones, who prosecuted the last two trials, praised the significance of Sarah's testimony. But he said the statute of limitations for attempted murder had long passed by the time the state reopened the investigation in 1971.
Sarah also resents that strangers benefit from her sister's death -- scholarships are given in the four girls' names -- while she says she's gotten nothing.
"You'd think they'd do something for the living, but the dead get more, I'll tell you that," she says.
They've done nothing formally -- "Yet," she says -- but Sarah and her husband hold out hopes for restitution for the suffering she's endured and for the loss of her sister. Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and 9/11 got their due, says George -- why not her? Shoot, he adds, a bus monitor who was bullied by students came into hundreds of thousands in cash.
This is why earlier this year, she -- and Fate Morris, Cynthia Wesley's biological brother -- shunned an invitation to Washington, to be by President Barack Obama's side as he signed a bill to grant the four girls, posthumously, the Congressional Gold Medal. They wanted money, not medals, they said at the time. Months later, however, they did attend the September 10 ceremony to receive the actual medals.
There's an irony to Sarah's outlook. She feels ignored, but she doesn't like to put herself out there. When Spike Lee approached her to be in his highly acclaimed documentary about the bombing, she refused, she says, because he wouldn't pay her anything.
"That's why no one knows about me," she admits, before saying she has no regrets.
When Bern Nadette Stanis, an actress best known for her role in the TV show "Good Times," visited, saying she wanted to play the part of Sarah in a proposed stage performance about her life, Sarah took a look at the contract and refused to sign. She says it "didn't look right."
Last November, a Birmingham News article focused just on her. It is framed and featured prominently in her home.
Near it hangs something that means as much, if not more, to her. It is a large pencil drawing of the four girls, given to her at an event where she was honored, yet one more piece of art depicting what was lost. But in this one there is a fifth girl in the picture -- Sarah.
She is not in the background but instead sits front and center. And with her arm around Sarah sits Addie -- one of four girls whose deaths would spark change, touch strangers and shape the future of siblings. Though their paths may have diverged and their memories may vary, they will forever share a piece of history.