We believe in celebrating the legacies and good work of rural Black women across the South. The Southern Rural Black Women’s Hall of Fame serves to do just that: to preserve, recognize and rejoice in the accomplishments of inspiring rural Black women throughout the years. These inductees are leaders and inspirations in their communities and deserve recognition for their work for the rights and betterment of others.
Our inductees and their legacies are honored in the following categories:
Mrs. Romious was best known as the owner, along with her husband, of several successful family-oriented businesses during the 1940s to 1960s.
Ms. Holmes integrated the State Department of the Mississippi American Legion Auxiliary by becoming its first Black president. This made her the second Black person to hold that office in the United States and the world.
Ms. Hamer was the Vice Chair of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged the all-white Mississippi delegation at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. Her most nationally recognized moment as a Civil Rights leader came in 1964 when a speech she made was televised during the Democratic National Convention. She testified before the credentials committee and asked the searing question “Is this America?” where she and others like her had to live in fear because of their quest for freedom.
As one of the organizers of the Madison County Civil Rights movement, Mrs. Devine was a major force in the formation of the Madison County Freedom Democratic Party. She represented the district at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City in 1964.
Unita Blackwell was the first African-American woman to be elected Mayor in Mississippi. She is recognized worldwide for her leadership.
Ms. Cummings was the first African-American woman attorney in Albany, GA and the first African-American woman to serve on the Albany City Commission and to be elected to the state legislature.
Ms. Shipp was the first African-American woman to be elected to serve on the City Council in Sylvester, GA. She is also a business woman and owner of a funeral home in Sylvester. She is the recipient of several NAACP awards.
She marched alone in front of the Coffee County Board of Education, protesting unfair hiring practices, severe and harsh punishment of African-American students and failure to teach African-American studies.
Ms. Miller was a model of courage in a terrorized county known for a sheriff who killed 5 Black men and left another for dead. When two Civil Rights activists were being bloodied by members of the KKK in Baker County on Bloody Sunday in 1965, she threw her body in front of several ax handles being used on the men, saving their lives.
She was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement and was arrested at a SNCC demonstration. In 1973 Ms. Reagon founded “Sweet Honey and the Rock”, an award winning a cappella quintet that performs traditional African and African American music.
Laurena, a life-long educator across several Alabama counties, worked first as a teacher and then as an assistant principal, impacting and shaping the lives of children.
Idessa was a Civil Rights activist who advocated against discriminatory hiring and helped change the Jim Crow hiring practices in 1950’s Alabama.
As a pioneer for the childcare industry in the state of Alabama, Elizabeth helped establish the first child care center in Wilcox County.
As an accomplished jazz musician, educator and activist, Mrs. Lee was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1992.
Mrs. Craig was the first woman and first African-American elected to the Choctaw County Board of Education.