Women’s History Speaker: Bettie Mae Fikes, the Voice of Selma

Date(s) - 04/03/2023
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Bettie Mae Fikes “the voice of Selma” will speak as part of Anna Maria College’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’s recognition of both Black and Women’s History Months.

Monday, April 3, 4:30 p.m.
Foundress Hall – Information Commons

Bettie Mae Fikes is a celebrated icon of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. She was born in 1946 in Selma, Alabama and began singing gospel alongside her mother at age four. At the age of sixteen she became a student leader for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She was jailed for several weeks in 1963 for protesting during the voting rights struggle. As a founding member of the Freedom Singers, she began traveling with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Freedom Rights struggle, which is how she came to be known as “the Voice of Selma. She was present in Selma during Bloody Sunday and witnessed the chasing down and beating of those who joined the march, including the future Congressman John Lewis. Hailed as “a musical genius of a storyteller, “ Ms. Fikes has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Library of Congress, numerous jazz festivals, and the 1964 and 2004 Democratic National Conventions. In 2020, she sang at the funeral services for Congressman John Lewis. She has performed with Joe Turner, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Albert King, James Brown, Bob Dylan, and Mavis Staples, among others. She is also a lecturer, having delivered moving speeches about diversity and civil rights at universities throughout the United States and Canada.