admitted to her mistake in claiming herself as the girl in the picture,
by stating, "It doesn't matter who was in the picture..." Personally, I disagree and take exception to the revelation.
In the life of the Black American, there are many who have been forgotten, ignored, and their contributions to our history, distorted and misrepresented. I am honored to include Mamie King-Chalmers within the pages of Beads on a String-America’s Racially Intertwined Biographical History and ecstatic to be able to include my thoughts into the novel, Pride Restored which depicts her life as an American activist.
“Sorting out who played more important roles, or who got their photo taken, isn't as important,” said Hezekiah Jackson IV, president of the Birmingham chapter of the NAACP said. "I don’t think it matters in the full scheme of things," he said. "Some people take it personally."-via Greg Garrison, Birmingham News Senior reporter. May 3, 2013
I think it matters greatly, and if it did not, why does The NAACP collects the names of 1963 activists as part of its Foot Soldiers Finder Project? I believe it matters in the case of Mamie King Chalmers, a great fighter for justice, equality and freedom of the American Black race, the truth matters to her, her legacy, and to the pages of history.
We must remember our beads by the deeds they have accomplished. The inability of Mamie King Chalmers to claim her image from day one, as depicted in Life Magazine, to freely stand and declare her place in history was misaligned and eventually corrected, but the hurt remains. Our words matter enormously. The way we choose to use our words to negate, apologize or honor matters to that particular person, their legacy, and I dare to say- to the audience bearing witness to your apology.
Mamie has continued her calling by helping others throughout her life and will continue to do so.
I want to express my thanks for all she endured as a youth fighting to attain the civil rights for African Americans which we tend to take for granted. May her fight for justice and equality flow
Within the pages of Beads on a String-America's Racially Intertwined Biographical History, the biography of Maime King-Chalmers will be showcased.
In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King arrived in Birmingham at the request of Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. A mass meeting at 16th St. Baptist Church campaigning, against segregation, injustices in public places and the Jim Crow Laws that binded them. When Dr King finished his speech, she knew this was her calling unafraid Mamie joined the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights and became an active demonstrator, Member,Participant and Organizer, and Demonstrator in the Civil Rights Movement. Mamie was always in the forefront leading the way. Her father Berry Sr. prepared lunches and transportation to and from the Protest sites for Demonstrators.
While demonstrating, she suffered attacks of police brutality, police dogs. Mamie was always targeted by The Public Safety Chief Eugene "Bull" Connors who was a self proclaimed racist. She was jailed on several occasions one time she spent five days in jail under horrible conditions. On Friday May 3, 1963, Bull Connors spotted Mamie and sent the dogs after her. She ran across the street to a doctors office seeking shelter from the vicious dogs, she was cornered. Bull Connors order the Fire Department "to turn the hoses on the niggers so they won't have to take a bath." So they began to hose Mamie, while she was pinned to the wall and alone. Several children made attempts to help her but they weren't successful. Two unidentified young men reached Mamie and used their bodies as shields to absorb some of the water pressure. Many children used their bodies as targets and distractions to help Mamie and the young men. The water pressure was so hard it was like bricks were being hurled at their heads and bodies. Due to the pressure of the water from the hoses, Mamie is now deaf in her right ear.
These events were captured by Black Star Photographer, Charles Moore who later sold the images to Time magazine. Their feature in Time gained national attention - which sparked the Civil Rights Movement and support for Civil Rights changes in 1964. During this era, Mr. Moore followed Mamie throughout the protests, capturing many images of her leading the way. Mamie continued her activism for freedom by attending the March on Washington with Dr. King and others. She bared witnessed to Dr King’s "I Have A Dream"speech.
In 1997 Mamie found out her identity, experiences, accomplishments, and most of all her pride had been claimed by prominent Alabamian Reverend Carolyn Maull Mckinstry author of While the World Watched. For almost twenty years, Mamie lived in the shadows, ignored and unable to set the records straight. With the aid of a successful letter writing campaign by her daughter LaSuria (Kandi) Allman, the Detroit News Report, Frances X. Donnelly who published his article, Detroiter Reclaims Moment in Civil Right’s History May 2, 2013. Birmingham News Senior reporter, Greg Garrison published his article, Civil rights hero fraud: Are impostors stealing credit from real heroes? May 3, 2013 50 years to the date of the actual hosing.
In a later article published August 23, 2013 by Greg Garrison, McKinstry publicly admitted she was not the iconic figure in the picture,“Civil rights activist Carolyn McKinstry drops claim she was in famous fire hose photo in 1963,” McKinstry also issued a statement on her website, Words Do Matter, defending her actions by stating she made a mistake in the error of self identification of her image in the Time Photo and stating, that it didn't matter who was in the photo. In the book, While the World Watched, she added "But to those of us who marched, the pictures are symbolic of all of us," she wrote. "The images are reflections of courage.”
December 10, 2013 Birmingham Alabama Mayor William Bell and City Council presented Mamie with the Key to the City, Her Proclamation and Resolution.
Mamie has continued her calling by helping others throughout her life and will continue to do so. Mamie has 9 children, 22 Grandchildren, 3 Great Grandchildren.
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