Sheyann Webb- Christburg Civil Rights Activist, MLK's Smallest Freedom Fighter and The Recipient Of The Congressional Gold Medal from President Obama in 2016

Sheyann Webb Christburg, Civil Rights Activist | PDA Speakers

Civil rights & voting rights activist, author, humanitarian & the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal From President Barack Obama.These are only a few words to describe a woman of humble beginnings who has become an inspiration to the world. Sheyann Webb-Christburg, a native of Selma, Alabama has been a voice of ju...    

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Civil rights & voting rights activist, author, humanitarian & the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal From President Barack Obama.These are only a few words to describe a woman of humble beginnings who has become an inspiration to the world. Sheyann Webb-Christburg, a native of Selma, Alabama has been a voice of justice, equality, courage, commitment and character since the tender age of eight.  Nationally known as the co-author of the book “Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days", which was later made into an NAACP Image Award nominated Disney Movie. Sheyann is currently at work on her second book, "Didn't Let Nobody Turn Me Around"

Sheyann, has appeared on nationally televised shows including: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, CNN, The Tom Joyner Show, and numerous other major media radio and television shows as well as being featured in the PBS documentary, “Eyes on the Prize”, and most recently being portrayed in the award winning 2014 film, "Selma".

Sheyann Webb-Christburg, named the “Smallest Freedom Fighter” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began her lifelong journey to fight for civil rights by participating in the now infamous “Bloody Sunday” march in Selma and taking part in numerous mass meetings held at the historical Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church.  After meeting Dr. King, she quickly realized that the injustices she had always questioned were in fact not right and she could finally begin to fight for the justice deserved by her family, friends, community and her entire race. 

As a precocious eight year old, Sheyann actively participated in three major historical marches, “Bloody Sunday,” “Turn Around Tuesday,” and "Selma", the successful march from Selma to Montgomery. 

Sheyann was a part of the integration of her all white junior high school in Selma where she endured many horrific acts of hatred  including being pushed down stairs, called bad names and spat on.  However, Sheyann was undeterred and went on to attend Tuskegee University and graduate with honors in 1979. This has been Ms. Webb-Christburg's motto in life, to persevere through hardship.

Despite the brutality, violence and hatred she faced as a child, Sheyann dedicated herself to making a change in the world through the Civil Rights Movement and, on a personal level, to living everyday with love, grace and compassion. 

Sheyann continues to be a mentor to the youth of today by sharing her story as well as the story of those who marched alongside her all those years ago.    

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    Marching with Dr. King

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Sheyann will screen the award winning motion picture, "Selma" and then present a discussion and Q&A period with the audience after the lecture.

Selma 50 Years later   

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Smallest Freedom Fighter

From Selma, AL to Washington, D.C.:  The Journey to Voting Equality

My childhood experiences with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Growing up in the Selma Civil Rights Movement

A Conversation: behind the scenes award winning film, "Selma"

Dr. King’s Smallest Freedom Fighter
This title depicts my childhood memories growing up in the Selma Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others. I speak on my growing up in the midst of experiencing racial discrimination, violence, injustices, inequality, and death of people who were fighting for their inalienable rights. My story also chronicles the influence and motivation in which Dr. King had on me and how my life as a child was impacted by this great man. This topic will also reveal my experiences as the youngest child on the Bloody Sunday March on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

My Life in the Civil Rights Movement
Audiences will hear Sheyann's talk about how she became a civil rights activist in her native Selma, Alabama where she fought for the right to vote.

Still Marching After All These Years: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter
In 1960, civil rights activists marched for the right to eat at lunch counters and to vote. Some rights were achieved but the right to vote is under attack. Without the civil rights movement there would be no Black Lives Matter movement. This is an insightful speech on how the civil rights movement was a springboard for other social movements: women’s rights, student’s rights the rights of the elderly, and many others, especially the Black Lives Matter movement.

Women Who Made the Civil Rights Movement
Women played critical roles in the civil rights movement. Sheyann speaks about the women who were the backbone of the movement.

Fifty Years of Voting & the Challenge Continues
An in-depth talk about how current efforts to dismantle the Voting Rights Act and to prevent the African Americans from voting must be fought.

Civil Rights, Women & War: Movements of the Sixties that Shaped America
Audiences will hear Sheyann’s talk on how these three movements reshaped America and expanded the rights of minorities and women.

  • A day and a time which I’ll never forget': Alabama woman recalls marching in Selma, meeting Dr. Martin Luther King when she was just 8 years old

    Monday, May 2, 2016

    A day and a time which I’ll never forget': Alabama woman recalls marching in Selma, meeting Dr. Martin Luther King when she was just 8 years old

    First-hand account from Sheyann Webb-Christburg, present at Selma, Alabama, marches in 1965. She met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. First-hand account from Sheyann Webb-Christburg, who was 8 years old when she participated in the Selma, Alabama, march in 1965.


    The Smallest Freedom Fighter: Woman recalls attending Selma march as a child

    Friday, January 15, 2016

    On Friday, Christburg shared her story with students throughout the city at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga University Center Auditorium in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is Monday.Christburg encouraged students to take advantage of opportunities they have to get an education, vote and work. "I submit to you that there is no room for excuses," she said. "I encourage you to be your best, but most of all, I encourage you to make a difference."


    The ALLY Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

    Thursday, November 5, 2015

    Keynote speaker for the evening dinner at the Weidner Center is Civil Rights activist Sheyann Webb-Christburg, the youngest participant (8 years old) in the “Bloody Sunday” march at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965.


  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast, Boston
    The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg speech was."

    Avail, Community Partner Youth Programming
    Sheyann Webb-Christburg surpassed our expectations! She can move mountains." The kids and teens loved her for our Youth MLK Celebration. Thank you PDA!

    University of Vermont
    Ms. Webb-Christburg, it was an honor to host you on our campus. Your speech was well received by everyone in attendance, and provided students with an incredible opportunity to learn about you and hear your views on a number of important topics. As you could probably tell, students had a phenomenal time at the event and your speech was thoroughly enjoyed.

    Penn State Erie
    The event went really well. We all enjoyed her presentation. The accounts of what she experienced as a child were so insightful. The vivid memories she shared made her stories feel real and engaging. We also appreciated her words of encouragements to the students. We showed the movie 'Selma' and it was a big hit with the students. Thank you again for helping us bring Ms. Webb-Christburg to Erie, PA.

    Alvernia University
    Everything went GREAT! It was a pleasure meeting Ms.Christburg and having the opportunity to hear her story. It was engaging, captivating and very insightful. At the showing of the movie 'Selma', we had over 150 students come out!

    Albright College
    Everything was amazing. Ms. Christburg was an inspirational speaker and I do feel that she touched many of the students' lives and made them strive for better in our world. Thank you for being the vessel for allowing her to come to our campus. We greatly appreciate you.

    The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
    Just a quick note to let you know Ms. Webb-Christburg did an outstanding job. Comments ranged from mesmerizing to inspirational. The students, faculty, staff and community all enjoyed her presentations. The movie "Selma" was a hit! It was a joy working with Ms. Webb-Christburg. She just went with the flow. Thank you again, Peter, for helping us make this event happen!

    Susquehanna University
    It was amazing. Ms. Christburg did a phenomenal job. The students loved her and were moved by her message. We showed the movie Selma a few days before her arrival and the students LOVED it! Thank you, Peter, for all your hard work in making this program a success.

    Marshall University
    Sheyann gave a great lecture and I've had a lot of positive feedback about it already. Thanks a ton for helping plan this.Now we can start thinking about next year!

    Illinois College
    Everything went quite well. Ms.Webb-Christburg is so impressive and inspiring; it was a pleasure to meet and hear from her.

    North Carolina Central University
    Many students were very impressed with her speaking and were very impacted by what she had to say to them! On behalf of the Program Board and myself, we thank Ms. Webb-Christburg and yourself for such a great program that each and every student enjoyed!

    University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
    Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was great. We were all honored to have had the opportunity to meet her and hear her remarks. Thank You!

    SUNY Plattsburgh
    Sheyann Webb was terrific and told her story of the civil rights days. The audience was engaged and asked many questions.

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