Sheyann is known as one of the youngest activists during the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama in the 1960s and named by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the “Smallest Freedom Fighter”.
Humanitarian & the recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal From President Barack Obama
Sheyann has built a lifelong career as a voice for hope, justice, equality, and humanitarianism.
Ms. Sheyann Webb-Christburg was born on February 17, 1956 in Selma, Alabama. She grew up in a family of eight children and is the proud daughter of the late John and Betty Webb. She is a voice for justice, equality and self-achievement. Ms. Webb-Christburg is also known as a humanitarian, civil rights activist, mentor and youth advocate. She is the nationally known co-author of Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days. Her book, which is now a Disney Movie, was nominated for Best Television Mini Series by the NAACP Image Awards in 2000. The movie depicts her childhood experiences with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Hosea Williams, Jonathan Daniels, Viola Liuzzo and other civil rights leaders as the youngest eight year old civil rights activist during the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama in the 1960’s.
Sheyann was named the “Smallest Freedom Fighter” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At age eight, Sheyann would sneak out of her house to attend mass meetings. She also led the congregation in singing freedom songs. She was the youngest participant to take part in the historically first attempted Selma to Montgomery march known as “Bloody Sunday”. She also participated on the “Turn Around Tuesday March” and the successful march from Selma to Montgomery in spite of being threatened by her parents constantly.
Sheyann attended a segregated public school in Dallas County, Alabama until her junior high year when she became one of the first blacks to integrate an all white school. Sheyann says that her junior high years were among her most horrific years. She was pushed down stairs, called bad names, suspended from school and spat on; and nothing was done by the school administration. Because of Sheyann’s numerous encounters with racism and poverty, she has dedicated her life by assisting youth in America to build self-esteem, confidence, overcome adversity, and find real purpose in their lives. Her commitment to these goals began when she found KEEP Productions, a non-profit Youth Development and Mentoring Program.
Her involvement in the KEEP Productions Youth Development and Mentoring Program was created by Sheyann in 1980, which is a great motivational tool for her as a change agent. This program has been in existence for thirty-five years. It is designed for youth ages three through eighteen to enhance their personal growth, by building self-esteem in order that they will become strong leaders of tomorrow. This program also assists in the development of individual talents as well as to serve as a vehicle to help youth exhibit these talents to improve their self-image and increase their full potential for personal and career growth. She also works with adults ages 19 and up.
Sheyann Webb-Christburg is a keynote speaker, civil rights activist, mentor and youth advocate. She is also the co-author of the nationally recognized book, Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days — which was made into a Disney Movie, and was nominated for Best Television Mini Series by the NAACP Image Awards in 2000. Today Sheyann travels all across the country discussing the lessons she gained from the historical movements she experienced.
Born in Selma, Alabama, Sheyann grew up during a time when racial tension, and segregation was prevalent. When she was just 8 years old, she became involved in the historical Civil Rights Movement. In fact, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave her the nickname the “Smallest Freedom Fighter!” Sheyann would often sneak out of her house to attend mass meetings with the activists, and lead the congregation by singing freedom songs. However, she wanted to do more than just attend meetings, and decided to take part in three historical marches: the first attempted march from Selma to Montgomery known as “Bloody Sunday”, the “Turn Around Tuesday March” and the successful march from Selma to Montgomery.
Sheyann is widely known for being the youngest civil rights activist to march in Bloody Sunday. Even though she was a young girl at the time, she vividly remembers every detail of it. She recalls being frightened by the hateful things people yelled out at the marchers, and the brutality of the police officers. After that she ran home upset from everything she had witnessed, but that didn’t stop her from participating in other future marches.
As she got older, Sheyann went to a segregated public school in Dallas County, Alabama until her junior high year when she became one of the first blacks to integrate an all white school. What should’ve been a positive thing, turned into a horrific experience for Sheyann. She was pushed down stairs, called bad names, suspended from school and spat on, with nothing done by school administrators.
Because of Sheyann’s many encounters with racism and poverty, she has dedicated her life by assisting youth in America. She helps them build their self-esteem, confidence, overcome adversity, and find real purpose in their lives. Her commitment to these goals began when she found KEEP Productions — a non-profit Youth Development and Mentoring Program. In addition to being a professional speaker, Sheyann currently volunteers and works on educational services, history tours, self-esteem workshops, etiquette workshops, and beauty and charm workshops. She also promotes and directs high quality fashion productions. As an active figure in the media, Sheyann has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and been featured on numerous TV networks such as CNN, NBC, BET and other major radio talk shows.
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.
“Sheyann’s presence on our campus continues to have buzz and has created motivation in our students to continue to participate in other BHM events we have planned. It is now left to us to carry out her message to cultivate change on our campus. Sheyann was truly inspiring and mind changing.”