In 1964, 8-year-old Selma, Alabama resident Sheyann Webb saw something that changed her life forever. On her way to school, she saw a crowd of blacks and whites standing together, an unusual site in the South at the time. Instead of going to school, she followed the crowd to the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, and as a result attended her very first meeting of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. named Webb the “Smallest Freedom Fighter.”
Today, Webb is a nationally known speaker and author. Her book, “Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days”, is inspired by her time alongside Dr. King in the march from Selma to Montgomery. In coordination with her visit to campus the 2014 film Selma will be shown on January 14 at 6 P.M. in the UTC Multi-Cultural Center, followed by a book signing. Webb will also discuss her experiences in a keynote speech on Friday, Jan. 15, at 11 A.M. in UTC University Center Auditorium. These events are free and open to the public.
On March 7, 1965, Webb participated in what is now known as “Bloody Sunday.” As Alabama State Troopers beat and sprayed tear gas on the marchers, Civil Rights Leader Hosea Williams, grabbed her and carried her to safety. Webb later disobeyed her parents and joined the group for the successful Selma-to-Montgomery march on March 21, 1965. She was the youngest person to attempt the march, but was picked up by her family and taken home. Unable to march from Selma to Montgomery, she did join the group once in Montgomery, Alabama.
It’s amazing for an 8 year old to have begun marching with the Civil Rights Movement in 1964. Webb is a historical treasure. I am interested in hearing the “Smallest Freedom Fighter’s” thoughts on the current state of Civil Rights in America.
For more information about Webb’s schedule of events, please contact Tara Mathis (423-425-5648).