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Bettie Mae Fikes: The "Voice Of Selma" And Singing For Freedom Ever Since

Known as "the Voice of Selma," Bettie Mae Fikes became a Civil Rights Movement activist at age 15 and never looked back. Her powerful singing voice and infectious, determined spirit lit a fire in the mass meetings before marches and demonstrations, drew other young people into the fight for justice, and made her a lifetime 'singer for freedom.'

Bettie Mae Fikes (standing at center), leading singing with other high school students at a mass meeting in Brown Chapel AME Church, Selma, Alabama, 1963 -- inspiring folks for Freedom Day the following day.

This Little Light of Mine - Perhaps the song she is most identified with. Recorded at a mass meeting.
This Little Light of Mine - Bettie Mae Fikes is still singing for freedom. In this 2-minute video clip from a recent panel discussion with other civil rights activists, she explains why singing was important to the civil rights movement and illustrates her point using This Little Light of Mine.
Up Over My Head - Bettie Mae Fikes leading mass singing.

Youth singing freedom songs in front of Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Freedom Day, 1963. See more Selma movement photos here.

If You Miss Me in the Back of the Bus - Bettie Mae Fikes getting a mass meeting on its feet.
Bettie Mae Fikes - Profile on the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) digital history site.
Oral History Interviews - In this interview transcript, Bette Mae Fikes shares her memories from historic moments in the Civil Rights Movement. Click on the link, and when the new page opens, click on the links at the top of the page to see her specific comments on the topics.
Tribute to John Lewis - In this 10-minute video clip from John Lewis' funeral in 2020, Bettie Mae Fikes shares her memories and pays tribute to him, in words and in song.
Bettie Fikes: Queen of the Blues - Beyond her heroic activities during the Civil Rights Movement, Bettie Mae Fikes has made recordings and led her own blues band, B.M.F. In addition to what's on her website, here's one of her early releases from 1974, produced by Southbound Records, a Selma, Alabama, label: I Can't Lie to My Heart (Betty Fikes and The Passions). More recently, here's an interview and performance with her band in 2015.
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