I am thrilled beyond thought at meeting an icon from history. August 6-9th, Mamie King Chalmers will be in Houston attending events sponsored by the Honey Brown Hope Foundation.
Lucky me, will have the honor of meeting and interviewing Mrs. Chalmers and her daughter LaSuria Kandi Allman while they are here
LaSuria is the author of biopics, Her Stolen Pride and Pride Restored both novels depicting the life of her mother as Civil Rights activist and a victim of stolen identity.
LaSuria Kandi Allman Facebook
As mentioned in another post, Mrs.Chalmers has been entered into the pages of Beads on a String-America's Racially Intertwined Biographical History.
Mamie Ruth King was born June 19, 1941 in Birmingham, Alabama to a modest, working class family which consisted of five sisters and five brothers. Her father was Berry King Sr., a coal miner for Tennessee Coal and Iron Hampton Slopes Mines in the subdivision of Pratt City, died in 1965 of Black Lung Disease after years of working in inhumane.mine conditions. Her mother, Mattie Marlowe-King, worked untiringly at Marshall Durbin Chicken Factory in order to provide necessities for the family. Mamie’s Great Grandfather Abe King was a slave at John King plantation in Morango County, working but never fulfilling a debt because the money was taken from him. The conditions of his life and the mistreatment of others living under the threat of Jim Crow Laws, she was inspired to work for a change.
In 1960's one of the most racial and volatile times in American history, Birmingham was also known as "Bombingham". 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 her daughter LaSuria (Kandi) Allman,and her successful letter writing campaign, LaSuria wrote letters diligently to anyone she thought would listen to her. LaSuria contacted the Detroit News Frances X. Donnelly he published his article May 2, 2013. Birmingham News Senior reporter Greg Garrison published his article May 3, 2013 50 years to the date of the actual hosing.
In an article published August 23, 2013 by Greg Garrison“Civil rights activist Carolyn McKinstry drops claim she was in famous firehose 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 Life Photo and that it didn't matter who was in the photo. In the book, While the World Watched,she said "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. In honor of her mothers crusade for justice, LaSuria Allman has written a book "Her Stolen Pride" which is available on Amazon.com and mydiamondpublishing.com/mamie-king-chalmers.html. 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.
-Information via-Pride Restored Intro: Crusade For Justice