The Southern Rural Black Women’s Hall of Fame

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:

  • Faith — known for spiritual or religious leadership, guidance or example
  • Sacrifice — known for personal sacrifice or martyrdom
  • Action — known for taking progressive action
  • Cooperation — known for fostering cooperation and cooperative structures
  • Reflection — known for documentation, reflection and guidance
  • Expression — known for artistic expression
  • Education — known for creating and advancing educational opportunities
  • Cultivation — known for nurturing individuals, organizations and communities

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Mrs. Orgireen Carter Romious

2005 Mississippi Bolivar County

Mrs. Romious was best known as the owner, along with her husband, of several successful family-oriented businesses during the 1940s to 1960s.

Pauline T. Holmes

2005 Mississippi Bolivar County

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.

Fannie Lou Hamer

2005 Mississippi Sunflower County

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.

Annie Bell Robinson Devine

2005 Mississippi Madison County

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.

Honorable Unita Blackwell

2005 Mississippi Issaquena County

Unita Blackwell was the first African-American woman to be elected Mayor in Mississippi. She is recognized worldwide for her leadership.

Mary Young Cummings

2005 Georgia Dougherty County

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.

Mary Shipp

2005 Georgia Wheeler County

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.

Gladys Mae Spencer Coley

2005 Georgia Coffee County

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.

Josie Miller

2005 Georgia Baker County

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.

Bernice Reagon

2005 Georgia Dougherty County

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 Sutton

2005 Alabama Perry County

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 Williams Redden

2005 Alabama Montgomery County

Idessa was a Civil Rights activist who advocated against discriminatory hiring and helped change the Jim Crow hiring practices in 1950’s Alabama.

Elizabeth Marzette Parrish

2005 Alabama Wilcox County

As a pioneer for the childcare industry in the state of Alabama, Elizabeth helped establish the first child care center in Wilcox County.

Consuela Lee

2005 Alabama Wilcox County

As an accomplished jazz musician, educator and activist, Mrs. Lee was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1992.

Thelma Onita Roberts Craig

2005 Alabama Choctaw County

Mrs. Craig was the first woman and first African-American elected to the Choctaw County Board of Education.