Valencia Reese

Valencia Reese, the daughter of Carlton Reese, the longtime director of the African-American Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights Choir (now the Carlton Reese Memorial Unity Choir), which was launched in 1959 by Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth to serve as the musical voice of the Movement in Birmingham and to sing at the many mass meetings that were being held in churches in the city during the height of the Movement. She recalls the activism of her father, who was a “foot soldier” during the Birmingham campaign (the selective buying campaign) and went to jail after participating in the Children’s Crusade in the city in 1963; he experienced the fire hoses, police dogs, and all of the rest of Bull Connor’s mistreatment of the demonstrators. She also recalls the discrimination and hatred that were directed toward her family when they moved into a white neighborhood in Birmingham in the 1970s.