Best Known For
At just 8 years old, Sheyann Webb was the youngest civil rights activist who marched in the 1965 demonstration that came to be known as "Bloody Sunday."
Bloody Sunday (4:04)
Civil Rights Foot Soldiers (4:09)
Sheyann Webb became involved with the Civil Rights Movement when she was 8 years old. On March 7, 1965, Webb was the youngest participant in the civil rights demonstration that became known as "Bloody Sunday."
On March 7, 1965 around 600 people crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in an attempt to begin the Selma to Montgomery march. State troopers violently attacked the peaceful demonstrators in an attempt to stop the march for voting rights.
They will never get their names in the history books, yet the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights movement changed history for the better through their unsung acts of courage.
On Sunday, March 21, 1965, nearly 8,000 people began the five-day march from Selma to Montgomery for voting rights.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born in 1956 in Alabama, Sheyann Webb became involved with the Civil Rights Movement when she was 8 years old, a commitment that was heightened after she met Martin Luther King Jr. On March 7, 1965, Webb was the youngest participant in the civil rights demonstration that became known as "Bloody Sunday." A book she co-authored about her experiences, Selma, Lord, Selma, became a television movie.
Sheyann Webb was born in 1956 in Selma, Alabama, where she grew up in a family of eight children. When she was only 8 years old, a chance encounter changed the trajectory of her life. Webb was passing by the Brown Chapel AME Church on her way to school when she saw a crowd of black and white people standing together, an unusual circumstance in 1960s Alabama. She followed the group into the church, and ended up attending a meeting for the Civil Rights Movement.
Webb, along with her best friend, Rachel West, later returned to the church to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak. King's words motivated the two girls to join the Civil Rights Movement. It was a commitment that was solidified when, on another occasion, Webb and West met King when he arrived at the church for a meeting. He allowed the two to stay for the meeting; afterward, he asked if they were going to march. They answered that they intended to march for their freedom.
Webb grew increasingly dedicated to the fight for civil rights, going so far as to skip school in order to attend meetings for the movement. After a young African American, Jimmie Lee Jackson, was killed by police following a peaceful demonstration, a march from Selma to Montgomery was organized to protest his death, and to demand equal voting rights for African Americans. Despite her parents' worries, Webb decided to join the march on March 7, 1965.
Webb understood that the demonstration could be dangerous, and her fears were justified: At Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, the demonstrators were ordered to turn back. When they did not turn around, police beat them with billy clubs and released tear gas into the crowd.
Caught in the violence, Webb was scooped up by another activist, Hosea Williams. When he put her down, she ran as fast as she could back toward home. There, her family was waiting for her. At 8 years old, Webb had been the youngest person on the attempted march, which became known as "Bloody Sunday."
On March 21, 1965, another march left from Selma. Webb disobeyed her parents and joined the group, but was soon picked up by her family. Though she did not participate in the entire march, she was in the crowd of 25,000 people that gathered in Montgomery when the march was successfully completed.
Webb and West recounted their experiences with the Civil Rights Movement to Frank Sikora, which resulted in the book Selma, Lord, Selma (1980). The book was made into a television movie that aired on January 17, 1999; in the film, Webb was portrayed by actress Jurnee Smollett. Webb also keeps the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement alive by continuing to tell the story of "Bloody Sunday."
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: Sheyann Webb profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
African-Americans have a long history of activism in America, from fighting for the right to vote to pushing for integrated public spaces. Activists like Stokely Carmichael organized freedom rides, James Meredith fought to integrate blacks and whites at the University of Mississippi, and Rosa Parks instigated the Montgomery Bus Boycott. These protests were often legal and nonviolent, and made a powerful impact on civil rights in the United States. With the help of activists like these—and many others—the country slowly worked to acknowledge the basic rights and contributions of African-Americans. Activists outisde of the U.S. include Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, who have fought against apartheid in South Africa. Learn more about the many black activists who fought against the odds in order to achieve equality.
Famous Black Activists 160 people in this group
"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." Stated by legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., these words represent a basic human philosophy to which black history's greatest leaders have passionately subscribed. Learn more about the world's most revered civil rights activists, known for their fight against social injustices and lasting impact on the lives of black citizens, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Famous Civil Rights Activists 186 people in this group
Famous Activists 533 people in this group