Annie Bell Robinson Devine was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Devine was born in 1912 in Mobile, Mississippi. After high school, she attended Tougaloo College and would later work as an insurance agent and schoolteacher.
Devine became interested in the Civil Rights Movement after passing an NAACP on the way home one night. After a quick encounter with a police officer at one particular meeting, she became heavily involved. Soon after the encounter, she worked canvassing for votes on the streets of Mississippi; she began meeting with other blacks in Canton to discuss civil rights issues. She soon quit her job selling insurance to work full-time for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
Not making quite the impact she wanted, Devine joined Fannie Lou Hamer and Victoria Gray Adams to become the first black women to speak before the United States House of Representatives. The three were elected state representatives for the progressive Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Devine helped found the party, and was a member of its delegation to the Democratic National Convention in New Jersey. She decided to accept running for congresswoman of her district, however, she was declined by the secretary of state to have her name on the ballot.
By late 1963, Devine was running the movement office in Canton, MS. All civil rights projects in Mississippi were organized under the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), an umbrella organization for all civil rights groups active in the state. On February 28, 1964, she organized Canton’s first Freedom Day to protest the unwillingness of the local registrar to register Black people to vote.
Years later, Devine helped found the Child Development Group of Mississippi (CDGM) and continued to work full time helping register Black Mississippians to vote.