Bettie Fikes’s powerful singing voice inspired Blacks in Selma to fight for equality. Fikes has been dubbed as “the voice of Selma”, and is a celebrated icon of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement.
Bettie Mae Fikes was born in Selma, Alabama, and began singing gospel alongside her mother at age 4. At the age of 16, she became a student leader for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the Civil Rights Movement, emerging as a music leader. She was jailed for several weeks in 1963 for protesting during the voting rights struggle in Selma.
She has graced the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival and the Library of Congress. Fikes is a recipient of the Long Walk to Freedom Award and has recently been inducted into the Smithsonian Institute’s ‘Museum of Tolerance,’ in an exhibition honoring women of the Civil Rights Movement.