Bio:

Bettie Mae Fikes “Voice” of Selma,  is a powerful, beautiful woman.  She holds Blues audiences in the palm of her well-manicured hand when she takes to the stage and begins to tell each person in that rapt crowd a story.  Yes, she’s a storyteller.  A musical genius of a storyteller.  She’ll weave you into her story with her impromptu lyrics; caress you with that throaty, rich, velvety voice…until you believe you are the only one in the room.  Small in stature, she seems ten feet tall when she’s in the spotlight gazing down at you.  Her voice can vibrate a room until the walls beg for mercy.

Bettie Mae Fikes began singing gospel with her mother at age 4 then, as a founding member of the Freedom Singers, began traveling with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Freedom Rights struggle.  This is how she came to be known as the “Voice” of Selma.  Ms. Fikes has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, Newport Jazz Festival, the Library of Congress, and numerous Blues Festivals throughout the country.  She has performed with the likes of Joe Turner, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Albert King and Bob Dillon, just to name a few.  Bettie is also a dynamic lecturer, having delivered moving speeches about diversity and civil rights at universities throughout the United States and Canada.

Program:

A Conversation with Black Women of the Freedom Movement and Black Men Education Activists: The Fight for Racial Justice Continues

The unsung heroes of the civil rights movement are black women you’ve never heard of. History remembers the male leaders who fought for human rights, but not Herstory and the women who made so many victories possible. The Fight Against Racism in a so-called Post Racial Society Continues!

On that historic August day in 1963, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told us his dream. We didn’t get to hear what the women of the civil rights movement dreamed of, because none spoke at length during the official program of the March on Washington. The Civil Rights Movement aka the Black Freedom Movement could not have happened without women. They were grassroots organizers, educators, strategists and writers. They built organizational infrastructure, developed legal arguments and mentored young activists. They fought ardently against the forces of racism, but they also battled another form of oppression: sexism. Many many women of the past and present have worked hard to “create new structures and political movements free from racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia to nourish their visions of liberation

Join us for this engaging dialogue of Black Women and the Black Men whose shoulders they stand on to educate a generation of many that have been denied and robbed of an education for their knowledge of self, identity and Herstory for collectivism of Black People today.

Interactive Panel Discussion

Moderator: Mrs. Maria R. McLemore-Hines

Potential Female Panelists: Ms. Bettie Mae Fikes, Rev. Ruby Sales, Ms. Joanne Bland, Mrs. Kathleen Cleaver, Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams, Ms. Dianne Nash, Ms. Claire O’Connor, Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, Dr. Cynthia Griggs-Fleming

Male Panelists: Dr. Marcellus Davis, Mr. Alexander Hines & Dr. Kenneth Turner